Biomimetics, Colour and the Arts

Schenk, Franziska (2020) Biomimetics, Colour and the Arts. Society for Artistic Research.

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This research is located at the intersection of fine art and scientific developments in optical nanomaterials. Schenk’s work explores the application of the science of mimesis and bio-optics in contemporary painting. Using biomimetic methodologies and iridescent substances, she has innovated studio-based techniques to create image viewing experiences until now only seen in nature.

Experimentation led to new processes informed by extensive investigation into the physics of natural phenomena, e.g. the dazzling iridescent colouration of certain insects and birds. Taking inspiration from these unique phenomena, the researcher introduces optical dynamism into painting, via the novel exploitation of iridescent pigment, allowing her to capture the process of oscillation between permanence and the ephemeral, the recognizable and the obscure. The characteristics of the nanomaterials deployed demanded the development of particular processes for achieving target affects. These involved blending conventional studio practices (pigment mixing, under-painting, glaze application, etc.) with new approaches devised for handling these challenging special media. Applying these new approaches enables colour shifting visual effects, previously unobtainable with conventional studio pigments, offering the means to catapult painting into the nano-age.

Complementing the scientifically informed and laboratory-based dimensions of the work, these transformative methods have been advanced through their application in the researcher’s own artistic practice. A series of paintings deploying these methods have been exhibited.

The underpinning science and novel application process developed to adopt nanomaterials in painting have been disseminated through conference presentations and refereed journals, e.g. invited papers, together with selected artworks, were presented at SPIE, San Diego (‘Biomimetics, Colour and the Arts’, 2015) and the Max Planck Institute, Dresden (‘Towards Smarter Art’, 2019). Also see the article with Prof Stavenga, University of Groningen, published by Faraday Discussion Journal (2020) and debated at the Royal Society of Chemistry’s international Faraday Discussion. Schenk’s artwork is on the cover.

Item Type: Other
Additional Information: Research Catalogue exposition presents a cluster of interrelated research, consisting of published journal article, published conference paper and a series of exhibitions featuring original artworks.
Identification Number:
29 December 2020Published Online
Subjects: CAH03 - biological and sport sciences > CAH03-01 - biosciences > CAH03-01-02 - biology (non-specific)
CAH07 - physical sciences > CAH07-02 - chemistry > CAH07-02-01 - chemistry
CAH07 - physical sciences > CAH07-04 - general, applied and forensic sciences > CAH07-04-01 - physical sciences (non-specific)
CAH25 - design, and creative and performing arts > CAH25-01 - creative arts and design > CAH25-01-02 - art
Divisions: Faculty of Arts, Design and Media > College of Art and Design
Depositing User: Franziska Schenk
Date Deposited: 04 Jan 2021 10:08
Last Modified: 03 Mar 2022 15:59

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