Wood, acrylic, mirrors. Height: 18cm, width: 23cm. June 2021
A sculpture formed of two painted wood blocks placed between two mirrors at angles to each other.
Unlike with most mirrors, which are vertical, the mirrors in this work are at 45 degrees to the horizontal, producing a reflection that includes the vertical axis rather than just the usual horizontal one.
I think that reflections on the verticle axis are inherently more interesting than those on the horizontal axis because they invert the image top to bottom rather than just flipping it right to left – a right to left reflection simply puts the right side to the left, with the only evidence of anything unusual being the fact that writing becomes back-to-front. Vertically reflected images however turn the whole world upsidedown.
This is a prototype of a mirror-based artwork that I’m developing that uses the concept of infinity mirrors (which is a phenomenon I first noticed while I was a student of maths and physics in the 1970s).
The work consists of four mirrors forming the vertical walls of a cube, with the mirrored surfaces facing inwards. Each mirror reflects the mirror opposite it, including the reflections in that mirror, so the reflections build up to form infinite reflections (or, more accurately, multiple reflections, as the reflections gradually fade due to light loss).
As well as that, where two mirrors meet in the cube’s corners each mirror reflects the other corner mirror, creating a different set of multiple reflections.
In the artwork the design on the cube’s floor forms this abstract image:
In each corner of the cube the abstract images are reflected in the mirrors to appear to form the word “OXO”.
Each of these words “OXO” is then reflected infinite times in the other mirrors in the cube.
This artwork is titled “OXO Cube”, as it’s just too good a title to ignore (The artwork is meant to contain an element of humour).
A low viewpoint looking into the mirror cube, as below, shows the infinity mirror effect at its best.
Steel ball on ink sketch. 13cm x 13cm x 2cm. August 2018
A study of reflections in a sphere.
A steel ball placed on a sketch pad in the centre of a radiating vein-like pattern. The reflections in the sphere give the effect of an eye-like form.
The work can be thought of as a study for a floor-based sculpture with a large steel sphere placed on a floor onto which the radiating vein-like lines are applied. It works very well at a small scale however, with the steel ball approximately the same size as a human eye. The intimate size of the small version makes this version quite unsettling, while a larger version would possibly be less unsettling but more visually intriguing (because the reflections in the ball wouldn’t invoke so precisely a human eye).
The initial concept came to me while working on a different project involving a steel ball (but not reflections) on a sheet of paper. I noticed that the reflection of the white paper and the room on the ball gave the impression of the white of an eye and the iris of the eye.
A video of a field of buttercups that contains a hard-to-see object near the centre-left. The object is revealed at the end of the video. The video is on a recurring theme in my work – an investigation into perception, reality and illusion. The video was taken behind my house at Lower Rosemorran, Zennor, in Cornwall.
Spoiler alert – the nature of the object in the video is revealed in the next section. The scene in the video contains, on the ground amongst the grass and buttercups, a square mirror. The mirror is hard to see partly because of the distracting proliferation of buttercups, but mostly because the mirror is positioned so that the light from the sky doesn’t create give-away shadows or highlights (buttercups that are reflected in the mirror can look abnormally lit compared with the rest of the buttercups if the angle of the light is incorrect).
Below is a photograph of the wider field in which the work took place.
The work is filmed in an almost cliched, very peaceful and calming field full of spring flowers, which to me makes a nice setting for a work that at its most pretentious can be interpreted as being a prompt for questioning the nature of reality. At its least pretentious however, it’s just a nice visual joke. Mirrors and reflections are common features of my work, as can be seen in the Mirror Art section of this site.
This video shows the way in which familiar objects can become disconcertedly unfamiliar and alien by removing them from their normal context.
It shows a video of a hand in which the video is split and flipped as a mirror image in order to create a strikingly bizarre image resembling an unsettling and disturbing alien creature.
The video is an attempt to highlight the way that even the things that we treat as totally normal and mundane are in fact full of strangeness and wonder.
By using the very simple mirror image technique I’ve made something that’s as ridiculously familiar to us as our hands look ridiculously alien and disconcerting. Who’d have thought that you had such strange alien things stuck on the ends of your arms?
This is a version of an artwork exploring reflections in mirrors, in this case based on a pair of shoes and a mirror. The shoes are positioned so that the reflection of each shoe in the mirror coincides exactly with the other shoe on the opposite side of the mirror, merging the real shoe and the reflection of the other shoe into what appears to be one shoe.
Like a lot of my works that involve illusion this one explores the line between reality and our interpretation of what we perceive, our perception of reality.