By on July 16th, 2020


TED Talk by Janet Eschelman, 9.5 minutes


Looking Up

I notice a strange kinship between the works of Janet Eschelman and Nancy Baker Cahill — trivial I expect each would rightly say but worth pondering say I. Both artists plan works against a background of sky. Not teapots on a tabletop, not twisted nudes on stools. Above is an impulse in both. How much art shares that?



Janet Eschelman’s netting installations attach to hold-fasts such as downtown office towers. They billow with wind and color and light. To showcase the effects of these things applied by fey nature rather than an artistic decision that says, It’s done is profound. The mysterious facts of local weather are a loud conceptual contrast to a closed contrivance. An invitation to come to life rather than a finished effect. Paint, bronze, extreme wedding cakes can’t attempt it.



Eschelman positions external lights with intention. Her nets are made of rope. Nothing inherently illuminating. Rope. The design of her nets includes a slackness that moves as feelingly as wind itself. This is an art of tension and abandon. There’s the ecological awareness alongside the grab-you aesthetic beauty. And the scale makes art you’ve never seen before. You are a small observer under it. There’s awe.



Baker-Cahill makes art that intervenes in the view you frame through your smart phone. The Augmented Reality piece she made for this recent July 4 takes a tangled batch of red-white-blue lines that form the suggestion of a Liberty Bell. If you look through your phone’s viewfinder at one end of Washington, DC’s reflecting pond you’ll see Baker Cahill’s bell huge above the water. The audio tolls solemnly as the bell seems to sway.



Baker Cahill’s graphic style — energetic bursts of lines, her focus on lines as opposed to blobs (mostly), her awareness of their aptness for expressing direction and speed. For expressing stream movement, a burbling over rocks. Or an explosion of colored remnants in the sky.



These lines are pixels not rope and by nature pixels are a form and source of light. There’s no outside photographer’s light, shining from the side. You can’t illuminate pixels.  You can only add their shine to the shine of an external light, usually a diluting and muddling idea.




I assume but don’t know that this Augmented Reality work would appear on your smart phone as lit pixels, becoming brighter as the sun went down. The tether to the reality it augments is that the bell tolls over sites of historical interest.




I don’t understand technically why the bell only appears at certain sites. “Augmented Reality” may dictate it. I ponder what privacy and sanity issues would ensue if rogue artists beamed unexpected content into the viewfinder (reality-finder) of your phone.




I recently read a quantum physicist scoffing at the youthfulness of Quantum Theory — more or less a century — and comparing it to topics that have intrigued scientists as far back as Archimedes.  The quantum man said there are things that don’t make sense in quantum mechanics and he wants for it make better sense. He’s in his forties. Maybe he will.



Keeping this physicist’s youngish-theory-attitude in mind I’ll make a last comparison between Eschelman and Baker Cahill. Eschelman has earned the accomplishments of a mature artist. She’s faced many daunting technical problems and come up a winner. As I said recently, the only other masterful rope artist I know of is Mrinalini Mukherjee. [I’m saddened to read that she died in 2015.]



Under duress, Eschelman took up native fishnets as a form and her art soared. She has changed “what is art?,” and gifted it with radical urban scope.


Augmented Reality is still under development, for Baker Cahill to step onto this unfirmed turf speaks to her brass and sass.  [I use these loaded words for a  reason: to normalize words like brass (nuts) and sass (a girly word). I consciously keep in the woman-centric metaphors that come to mind because my instinct is to hide them. Don’t sound weak. Goddam, let those housework metaphors roll out like jellyrolls.]


Baker Cahill is now standing in a spot similar to the beach where Eschelman began. Looking up. Early times for her hugely unexplored medium. But she has willing sponsors. And a medium most humans are infants at using. I hope for big things from her once she’s gifted with the scope to match her wingspan.







• Boston Greenwy Project

•  From a 2012 blogpost of mine, Fluidity

• FYI: Ismar2020, online conference Nov 9 – 13, 2020.  IEEE International Symposium on Mixed and Augmented Reality (ISMAR) is the premier conference for Augmented Reality (AR) and Mixed Reality (MR). Lots of folks claim to be “premier” so check this out another way before buying in.

By on May 15th, 2020

Color, Deep


Of all the delicious things in the world — chocolate chip cookies with pecans, vegetable tempura, green peas and butter  — there’s nothing I love more than color. OK, OK, mixing metaphors, but I find a combination of red and magenta both filling and nutritious.  A flock of golden daffodils. The early yellow-green of deciduous — I feel I can inhale great whuffs of it. With color I’m a synesthesiac, every sense I taste with I color with as a verb.


The Florida photographer Jude Infantini, Artist & Emu Connoisseur, has some color studies I keep thinking about. In particular the image above, the mix of fruit and vegetable so drenched in black that they’re practically unreadable — and yet the pleasure is in discovering that this display consists of colors opposite on the color wheel — red and green. Supreme color opposites. Actually the pairing I think most about. But here the artist has made so much of darkness he distracts you from the hues.  Red and green with so much pitch black that you marvel at their sameness. Not contrast, not your normal peppy jalapino and cherry. Darkness.




Long ago I read that Renaissance masters used gray to stand in for many other colors. Now I understand.






esprit de l’escalier   It occurs to me that among Infanitini’s ploys is to site his arrangement on screaming red. This makes the contrast between intense saturation and an extreme of dark to light. Or not about red versus green but between color and shades of no color at all. I never went to art school so forgive me some naivety at times.





Jude is found on, my newest favorite public domain image source.

Jude’s page is here.




By on March 22nd, 2016

After last week’s post about liquid colored light I’ve wondered if you could mix them and how they might be used in art.  Piped through a mesh of glass tubing? Trapped in chambers left inside glass objects? In clothing dyes — once the materials are less toxic.

Here are some coloring strategies you can’t source at an art supply house.

Murano glass vase. via Vaunte.

Murano glass vase. via Vaunte.


Cold Construction | Cesty skla / Ways of glass/ Martin Rosol and Pavel Novák, USA. via Pinterest.

Cold Construction | Cesty skla / Ways of glass/ Martin Rosol and Pavel Novák, USA. via Pinterest.

Double Shadow Concrete/ Plexiglas/ Agate Slice 8"x 8" x 7" 6.2011 . via

Esther Ruiz, Double Shadow.  Concrete/ Plexiglas/ Agate Slice
8″x 8″ x 7″. via estherruiz.


 James Turrell, Gathered Light. LED light, etched glass, shallow space. Aperature size 86 x 48 inches, runtime approx 2.5 hours. via kaynegriffincorcoran.

James Turrell, Gathered Light. LED light, etched glass, shallow space. Aperature size 86 x 48 inches, runtime approx 2.5 hours. via kaynegriffincorcoran.


James Turrell light installation. via Pinterest.

James Turrell light installation. via Pinterest.


Paintless color play

Environment Chromatic-Interferences: Interactive Space by Carlos Cruz-Diez, Solo Exhibition, Guangdong Museum of Art, Guangdong (China), 2010.  via Pinterest.


Paintless color play

Amy Friend , Set Design. via Pinterest.


paintless color play

Julia Dault, ‘Untitled 27’ (2013). Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM). via bamboobangga.


Paintless color play

Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson presents his work called ‘Your Chance Encounter’.  Eliasson explores and plays with the architecture and functionality of the museum walls, bringing the institution to life, changing its rooms and corridors through his use of light, mirrors, shadow, color, wind and fog. via LUZ BRANCA.


Paintless color play

CMYK light bulb that casts coloured shadows by Dennis Parren. [All colored light sources cast colored shadows.] via Pinterest, via Dezeen.

Paintless color play

Colours Photo by *Corrie* on Flickr I like the way the colours turned out in this one. Yellow food dye in the drop and blue water in the drip tray. Blue gel on one flash and a red and yellow gel on the other. Pretty much as shot. Sunset Splash. via Flickr.


OK, I got hooked last week at the liquid luminous color, but finished the thought yesterday seeing the intelligent and subtle color effects obtained by profesonal fruit carvers.  Peel, underflesh, colored flesh.

Paintless color play

Huffington Post, Carved Watermelon. via Pinterest.


via garnishedfoodblog.

Carved fruit.  via garnishedfoodblog.

Here you have a wee pinch of color strategies available to the artist. One hundred blogposts couldn’t do justice to them all.

Color’s one of the most luxurious of sensations. I started by painting my house modernist white from first floor on up.  Whoa, depressing.  Now there are rooms from apricot to deep purple, yellowgreen to mild magenta, yowsa red to vivid lemon. The heart soars here now.

My friends, have fun.

By on March 15th, 2016

I’ve been out of town for a week enjoying Florida wildlife and palmy views.  Today’s blog focuses on beauty rather than art — an article this month in Nature Magazine about nanolights has made my eyeballs grin.

The nanolight revolution — virus-sized particles that fluoresce in every color 

A rainbow of liquid light.

Nanolight, a new field of study producing liquids in glowing colors. via Nature.

My first reaction is art material! but more practical types are thinking television displays and cancer treatment.

At Biopolis, a sprawling research complex in Singapore, Chi Ching Goh leans over an anesthetized mouse lying on the table in front of her, and carefully injects it with a bright yellow solution. She then gently positions the mouse’s ear underneath a microscope, and flips a switch to bathe the ear in ultraviolet light. Seen through the microscope’s eyepiece, the illumination makes the blood underneath the skin glow green, tracing the delicate vessels that carry the solution through the creature’s body.

Chi Ching Goh is focused on pinpointing blood vessels made leaky by inflammation. Stroke prediction, malaria research. I imagine art that changes guise under varying fluorescent lights.


Feast your eyes. Next week I’ll again showcase an admirable artist.