By on May 21st, 2012

from Shinichi Maruyama’s Kusho series (copyright the artist)

Fluidity.  Flow, gush, meander, mingle.  There’s something about freedom in a lazy curve.  Water  – like air, earth, fire – is an element recognized by the ancients.  Yet orange juice and motor oil are also fluids.  Different viscosities, different flows.  You slosh either around in a bowl and watch it move in signature fashion.  Fluidity is interesting on its own.

Above is an image by Shinichi Maruyama.  A friend sent me this artist’s website in response to my post on Ruslan Khasanov (May 17) and I was rapt moving through his work.  I urge you to visit his site and watch Water Sculpture Movie.  The gesture as he sculpts the water, the way the camera holds the moving water in jellied time.  Look at the stills on his site as well — my shrunken jpegs here don’t do justice to the beauty in his work.

 from Shinichi Maruyama’s Water Sculpture series (copyright the artist)

I don’t know why I have such connection with the notion of fluidity.  Maybe because I grew up within sight of the sea.  Until today I’ve thought the connection was with motion.  Period.

But it’s organic motion I love.  The fluctuations in how a certain amount of water flew through a certain roomful of air.  Science could no doubt plot just how those air currents were purling, whorling: the door opening into the room, a body approaches the table, loads hands with water, flings.  The follow-through of his hands is a dancer’s.

Science can enumerate conditions, connections, particularities.  I love it for this reason.  But science can’t have the emotion of beauty.  For this reason I love art.

Heinz Maier also photographs fluids with stunning results.  Compare this one with Maruyama’s at the top.  High speed cameras, similar fluids, both O shapes, unalike.  One’s about energy that comes from the shoulder and back, the other’s about a delicacy that it takes a macro lens to see and that a pinprick could kill.

Bubble in the Hat by Heinz Maier (copyright the artist)

And how different the fluid motion here.

The New Way by Heinz Maier (copyright the artist)

 In these images we actually see the language of fluidity.  Drip, splash, spurt, slosh, all verbs.  The actions of an inanimate substance of a certain character.  Organic, not pre-programmed.   Intentionally reactive with the circumstances of time and place.  Where I grew up there were oil derricks seesawing updown updown, squeak and groan.  Not what I love in motion.  A woodpecker’s rat-a-tat-tat includes the suchness of the tree, the sun’s heat, and how long it’s been since he last ate.

Lastly, how artists work.  I love that brash and brazen motion can conjure beauty the same as a lab set up to study a tiny scale of things.  Beauty is all around us, both artists have found a remarkable way to see it.   That finding is the artistry.

Shinichi Maruyama photo via Bruce Silverstein Gallery

Maier’s camera and drip set-up via Colossal