At first glance, ‘Red’, looks like a huge blob of red smoke rising from the ground, but a closer look and, the image transforms into 3D space where the colour is objectified.
This is a unique technique developed by David Spriggs, a British-Canadian artist, to paint on multiple transparent sheets which are stacked together to create an illusionary experience.
Each form he creates looks suspended in space and the viewer’s perception changes as he navigates around the installation. Its an interesting technique, which seems simple and not hidden from the viewer, yet, it exudes a sense of mystery and wonder.
David Spriggs explains more about this to FractalEnlightenment, “I developed my technique in 1999 after considering the notion of painting not on a flat surface but through three-dimensional space. I was also interested in thinking about transparency not just as a property of light but as a medium itself. This lead to the layering process and to what I now call strata-perspective.”
His paintings are called Stratachrome, a term he has coined from the Latin word ‘Strata’ meaning layers, and chroma means colours. “Unlike in linear-perspective where the illusion of depth is created by a vanishing point, strata-perspective is created with multiple image planes in space that collectively give depth. The viewer becomes the vanishing point to the images which now have infinite ways to see them, it is a sort of reversal of linear perspective.”
Each work consists of anywhere between 18 to 400 separate transparent planes that are painted on and layered specifically through space. The one below called ‘Vision’ is simply white paint airbrushed on transparent sheets and the outcome is stunning; the image looks like an implosion as well as an explosion.
Spriggs’s art is fascinating since it’s not confined/restricted to one particular form, it can take various forms and meaning, based on the viewer’s perception and the angle. Speaking of his source of inspiration behind such convincing illusions, Spriggs says, “My inspiration comes mostly from science, art, and philosophy. They all overlap in many ways. I’m very interested in current science on the nature of time and space, notably the research at CERN. I keep coming back to the ideas of Jean Baudrillard on simulation, Paul Virilio’s notions of how technology collapses space, and the Futurist’s concepts of the form without boundaries. I’m also a big fan of the Light and Space artists of the 60’s, and contemporaries like James Turrell, Anish Kapoor, and Ollafur Elliasson.”
Another interesting and massive installation was ‘Stratachrome: the Saga of Green’, which uses the same green screen used in cinema. There are different symbols within the work and the meanings connected through all these symbols.
The images, some blurred, some precise – among them are a cross-section of a brain, a nude model appears in pose, soldiers, a military vehicle, an exploded 3D camera – appear to hover within the curved structure – are painted in layers onto 400 large sheets of transparent film. Enigmatic at first glance, Stratachrome, includes the viewer as subject behind the reproduced images.
Spriggs takes anywhere between 2 weeks for a small work to half a year for a large installation. Lot of his work explores not only the forces of nature like cyclones but dwells into the creations of man with explosions, etc. “I’m interested in the boundaries of a form, and power as both a symbol and a force. Explosions for example are interesting because they are in a state of rapid transformation – where the form of an object no longer can be defined. From the side view of all my works, the apparent 3D form also dematerializes and materializes again from another view. I think it is important that the subject is tied conceptually to the process and medium. Each artwork I make deals with often with very different issues and concepts.”
Currently Spriggs is working on a series of Stratachrome installations that explore the symbolic, historical, and perceptual elements of colour. His new work Blue will be exhibited in New York in October.