Mirror art – Squaring the Circle

contemporary mirror art reflections

Mirror art. Squaring the Circle

Mirror, card, paper, acrylic. 28x28x18cm Feb 2024

A mirror piece consisting of a semicircle of card half of which passes inside a box-like construction. The semicircle and box are resting on a mirror so that the semicircle appears to be part of a full circle that enters and exits the box.

contemporary art mirror sculpture reflections

The reflection of the box makes the box appear to be half of a square structure, with the circle entering and leaving the interior of the square via its openings where the square is cut. This gives rise to the title of the piece, Squaring the Circle.

contemporary art mirror sculpture reflections

The mirror is a front-coated (or first-coated) mirror. Unlike standard mirrors that have their reflective coating on the rear surface of the glass front-coated mirrors have the reflective surface on the front. With a standard mirror the thickness of the glass creates a gap or space between the object on the glass and the reflection, while with a front-coated mirror the object and the reflection are ‘touching’.

Mirror art – Flite

contemporary art mirrors reflections

Mirror art. Flite.

Mirror, card, acrylic. 28x28x18cm Feb 2024

A wall mounted mirror piece.

A wall mounted sculpture composed of a mirror with a sculptural form made of card attached to its surface. The card is painted with acrylic paint.

contemporary art mirror sculpture reflections

The sculptural form is held in place on the mirror by a magnet attached to the back of the mirror. The magnet attracts a small piece of steel tape that is embedded in the card of the sculpture. This ensures that the sculpture can be held invisibly on the mirror, with no obvious means of attachment such as bolts or glue.

The mirror is a front-coated (or first-coated) mirror. Unlike standard mirrors that have their reflective coating on the rear surface of the glass front-coated mirrors have the reflective surface on the front. If a standard mirror had been used the thickness of the glass would have created a gap or space between the object on the glass and its reflection, while with a front-coated mirror the object and the reflection are ‘touching’.

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Mirror art – waving fingers

Mirror art. Study for waving fingers.

Mirrors, cloth, person.  61 seconds. Nov 2023

A study for a work involving a triangular mirror box with an opening in one corner through which a person’s fingers are intruding. You may notice that the reflections of some of the fingers are noticeably blurred. This is because this study is using standard commercial mirror tiles which, like most mirrors, produce a reflection from the front surface of the glass as well as from the mirrored rear surface. Front coated mirrors or similar would avoid this problem, but they are too expensive for use in development studies.

The multiple reflections within the mirror box create a ring of fingers that look like a sea anemone or a strange and unsettling alien lifeform.

contemporary art mirror reflections of fingers

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Mirror Box Creating Infinite Reflections

contemporary art mirror reflections

Contemporary mirror art. Multiple reflections inside mirror box

Mirrors, paper, card. 2023.

Three mirrors joined to create a triangular box or prism, with the mirror surfaces facing inwards. On the inside bass of the box a number of semicircular pieces of card and paper are arranged so that their reflections create the appearance of complete rings.

contemporary art infinity mirror reflections

Each of the mirrors reflects the other mirrors (and the reflections in the mirrors). The reflections in the mirrors include the reflections of reflections. This would result in an infinite number of reflections if the mirrors were perfectly reflective (and were optically perfect in other ways too), however there is a loss of light with each reflection so the reflections gradually become dimmer and darker.

Below is a video of the sculpture. Because of the nature of the multiple reflections in the mirrors it’s particularly important to see the sculpture from different angles.

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I’ve been interested in mirrors and reflections for most of my adult life. While I was still at school in the late 1960s I ground an eight and a half inch (215mm) parabolic mirror for an astronomical telescope that I constructed. I used the mirror in this early artistic experiment. My first conscious encounter with infinite mirrors was a few years later when I was in a lift (elevator) while at university studying maths and physics. The lift had mirror panels on its walls.

Contemporary mirror art

contemporary art mirror reflections

Contemporary mirror art. Multiple reflections creating complete rings

Mirrors, wood, card, acrylic. 2023.

Two mirrors joined along their bottom horizontal edges are held at an angle to each other. Placed between the mirrors are three painted card sections of circles. Multiple reflections of the sections of card around the axis of the joined mirrors produce full circles. There are six reflections (or multiple reflections) in the mirrors, creating a full circle composed of seven sections.

contemporary art mirror reflections

A second component of coloured card is lying flat on the surface beside the mirror structure. The shape and colour of this second construction add another dimension to the assemblage as a whole. The fact that this part of the piece is in two colours and that it forms only part of a ring add to the resonance of the structure.

contemporary art mirror reflections

Below is a video of the sculpture. Because of the nature of the multiple reflections in the mirrors it’s particularly important to see the sculpture from different angles.

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Contemporary mirror art – Yellow Ring

Contemporary art, mirror art. Yellow Ring

Mirrors, wood, card, acrylic.  2023

A sculpture exploring reflections in mirrors. The sculpture is composed of two mirrors set at angles to each other so that they show the reflections of each other and thus show multiple reflections of objects reflected in them.

Resting on the mirrors is a curved length of yellow card that forms a quarter of the circumference of a circle. Multiple reflections in the mirrors turn the quarter of a circle into a complete circle.

Contemporary art mirrors multiple reflections

From some viewpoints only part of the circle can be seen, giving the effect that the circle is somehow partly disappearing – a form of optical illusion created because the brain can’t interpret what it is seeing properly.

Contemporary art mirrors multiple reflections

Angled mirror art

Contemporary art reflections with angled mirrors

Angled mirror piece

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 striking evidence of anything being unusual is when writing becomes back-to-front. Vertically reflected images however turn the whole world upsidedown.