Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Trying some ideas for a new project

When you look at the natural world, and particularly when you look at it under a microscope, it starts to look very abstract.

This image, for example, isn't a piece of contemporary art, it's a cross section of bone seen under a microscope.

Compact bone, from human femur. Bone is made up of two types of tissue: the compact bone forms a shell around the spongy cancellous bone that makes up the marrow space in the centre. Compact bone provides strength and rigidity and is solid in appearance. It is composed of a layered matrix of organic substances and inorganic salts that form around an intricate network of vasculature called Haversian canals.  Credit: Ivor Mason, KCL, Wellcome Images.:
Image from Wellcome.ac.uk

This is the same thing at an even greater magnification.  These round structures with the little holes in the middle are called osteons, which are essentially the building blocks of bone.

COMPACT BONE. in electron microscope. looks like weird sand dunes. central hole, haversian canal obvious. lacuna are the tinier holes:
Image from Psmicrographs.co.uk.

I've been playing around with three little panels showing cross sections of a femur at progressively greater levels of magnification.

Panel number one is a cross section showing the compact bone around the outside, and the spongy bone in the center of the femur where the marrow sits.  This piece is made from paper and plaster.

The next one is all paper, and shows the osteons in the compact bone, like that second picture I showed in this post.  It's very much a work in progress at this stage, but hopefully you can get some idea of what it will be like.

I'll talk about the third panel another time, because so far I don't really have anything there to talk about.  What I'd like to achieve is something that captures the abstract look of bone structure under a microscope - something that's all about colour and shape.