I’ve been incorporating lenses into some of my recent paintings. For example, “Ebb and Flow” “Tabula Rasa” and “Neural Network” all incorporate a number of lenses to manipulate light and make the paintings more active as they engage viewers.
The lenses combine in interesting ways with extruded acrylic gel, along with thick poured transparent and translucent acrylic layers. It’s one thing to work with optics and quite a different experience to work optical elements into a paint film. I’m just beginning to envision the possibilities from some of these very cool glass objects.
I ordered two pounds of small lenses from Surplus Shed and two of their optical stuff grab bags. I wrote a little note with the order, telling them that these were being used for art (rather than build-it yourself camera/ microscope / telescope etc projects). Weird lenses are good and they delivered. I think they threw in a number of extra goodies. Here’s a short video describing some of the small lenses:
I also get some nice fiber optics which I want to use to move light from one area of a painting to another area, and some nifty small prisms that can change the apparent direction of light. Some of this stuff should be useful with the retroreflective beads I already own – I should be able to change the retroreflective condition so that viewer and light source don’t need to fall in a narrow cone of angles. Now it’s down to painting, gluing, and twiddling (the technical term).
There’s a slideshow of pics of some of the optics below. Some interesting prisms, concave and convex lenses, and aspherical lenses are in the pictures. There were also some large and weird things. Figuring out how to work =with the weight of the glass and how to get some space behind the lenses in a “painting” type of art work will pose a few engineering challenges.