Science is often an inspiration for Keith Tyson, who won the British Turner prize for contemporary visual art in 2002. For his latest work, he took this to the next level – pouring paint onto aluminium and letting natural processes do the rest.

This is one of Tyson's "Mathematical Nature" paintings.

This means that he has applied the paint to the aluminium in a mathematical order. In this case, he poured on the pigments in a numbered spiral but only where the prime numbers would fall.

Usually Tyson uses 10 to 15 substances on each work, including stained-glass window paint, ceramic glazes, resins and pigments he's invented himself.

This image, called Nested, is part of Tyson's "Nature" series now showing at the Parasol Unit gallery in London. While it looks organic, reminiscent of the patterns formed by dyes picking out tissues on a medical slide, this is purely coincidental. The title refers to the creative process rather than what it depicts.






and by far my favourite:

As the "canvas" for these works Tyson uses an aluminium panel soaked in acid, onto which he pours various substances, including paint designed for stained glass windows, ceramic glazes, resins, and oily paint from a child's graphics set. He then allows them to interact with each other and the acidic surface - "basically doing exactly what it says not to on the back of the packet" as he puts it. The temperature of his studio affects how fast the chemicals react, the angle of the canvas determines the gravitational pull on the liquids, and their viscosity and way they mix all contribute to the appearance of the finished work.

But just how random is it? "I have control over the initial starting conditions, the colour palette if you like, and I have an idea of the 'breed' of painting that will come out at the end, whether it'll turn out cellular or freer flowing," Tyson says. "But as for the final appearance, it's completely unpredictable. Nature is much better at painting than I am."

Much of Tyson's back catalogue borrows from science and nature - he named his first solo show "Supercollider" after one of CERN's particle accelerators.

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Replies to This Discussion

These are really beautiful, but I'm not sure how I feel about them as art. One, it sounds really really dangerous from a chemical/health point of view. I'm not sure I'd want to be around them when this was taking place. :P

Secondly, they are interesting and colorful, but they are just a matter of chance. There is nothing wrong with that, of course, but I have a hard time valuing chance when we have the deliberateness of a Rembrant. Does that make sense?
I found it interesting. I was not comparing it to fine art, I just found it interesting, and I love to look at the last one. It appeals to my eyes.

I like it much better than some art that is considered fine art. Jackson Pollock's work comes to mind. I am not at all fond of Jackson Pollock.
Yeah, the last one looks just like a satellite photo of earth. I'm not fond of Pollock either. I think he's more of a con artist than a fine artist.
It appeals to my eyes.

Ditto. 'Organized chaos', or 'chaotic order', always strike a chord within me. Ancient Greeks thought the circle or sphere was the most perfect of all shapes, but I've always found fractals more worthy of interest. Ferns have a perfection of their own.

Not a great fan of Pollock, but it appeals to me much more than, say, Mondrian.
Yeah, Mondrian is rather boring to me.
Mondrian's bright geometric paintings do not please my eye at all, actually it makes me want to look away to something more pleasing. His other work is not my taste either.




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