Physics, Through the Looking Glass
John Anthony Murphy
In the 1840s, JMW Turner painted 'Snow Storm' depicting, with swirling brush strokes, the new understanding of the Earth’s magnetic field. At the same time, Nicholas Callan was inventing ingenious electromagnetic machines at Maynooth College. Inspired by this history and a career in physics, my art work focuses on the lived experience of scientific discovery viewed through the lens of contemporary practice. As the site of research and experimentation, the laboratory of the inventive scientist parallels the studio of the creative artist.
Using reflection and refraction, like Alice from 'Through the Looking Glass', I explore the ambiguous world of the looking glass to portray in a figurative style the research endeavour expressed by old laboratory instruments. By utilising imaging in my acrylic paintings, I also reference Euclid, the next European Space Agency mission to observe the natural lensing effect of gravity produced by Dark Matter and Dark Energy in the cosmos.