Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Transparent Still Life

Physicist Arie van 't Riet specializes in radiation physics, and very low energy x-rays in particular. He began making artwork employing x-ray nature photographs, where radiography intersects fine art. His colourized x-ray photos of bioramas are a sort of see-through wunderkammer. He creates entire scenes in x-ray form. It makes me think of how the natural world might look if my eyes could see in x-ray wavelengths (or those back-of-the-comic-book x-ray specs really worked).

  Arie van 't Riet

Cameleon, begonia, Arie van 't Riet

Barn owl, Arie van 't Riet

Arie van 't Riet

frog, Arie van 't Riet

Arie van 't Riet
Arie & Hans van't Riet

 As a printmaker, I also appreciate how he's worked with Hans van 't Riet to produce Toboyo prints, or photo-polymer etchings, using UV light to transfer the x-rays to a plate which was inked and hand-printed. There's something poetic about using one non-visible wavelength to photograph right through lifeforms and show their structure, and then use another non-visible wavelength to bite an etching plate and print onto paper- combining the high tech with the centuries-old artistic medium.

Transparent flowers, revealing their skeletal structures, are also the subject of  architecture-student-turned-artist Macoto Murayama's work, but his is a very different medium. He uses computer graphics, 3dsMAX software usually employed in architecture (or animation), to model and then Photoshop and Illustrator depict the anatomy of flowers. It's like a specialized form of scientific illustration, as he bases his images on his own careful dissection of flowers
Chrysanthemum, Macoto Murayama
Rose, Macoto Murayama

Yoshino cherry, Macoto Murayama

Chrysanthemum, Macoto Murayama

Satsuki azalea, Macoto Murayama

(via the scientist)


  1. Compelling images - very lovely indeed.

  2. ps ..... but Helianthus are sunflowers, not poppies!

    1. Thanks very much! I thought that sounded weird. He must have mislabelled the image. I think I'll just remove the title, since it must be in error.



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