by Dana Plesa

In the process of developing a pigment formulation sensitive to changes in the microenvironment caused by a chemical reaction (pigment colour changes as result of the chemical reaction), at some point I got these two colours, red and blue. The “eureka moment” was when I realized that in a particular solution, they had the same colours under visible light and UV light.

I felt so happy and contented that, obviously, I had to do something artistic with them.

In these images the coloured reactant spreads into the other one, and movement is created by the energy emitted from the chemical reaction; this movement combined with the solid neutralization product created the “Playful” image under visible light. “Fire” is the same reaction captured under UV light thus demonstrating what an important role light has on what you see.

Creating art works with these red and blue formulations was an artistic and a technical challenge. With this work I wanted to evoke the emotions that I felt. To depict my creative “tension”, I designed an experiment using a physical property of fluids called, surface tension.

Surface tension is the tendency of a fluid surface to occupy the smallest possible area (its lowest energy state); the result is round shape of water droplets and is the property of water that allows some insects to walk across without sinking. The boundary you see in the image is caused by the surface tension between immiscible liquids. The cohesive forces between the molecules at that boundary keep the liquids separated. For a chemical reaction to happen an external intervention is needed so I used a needle to create a path; the chemical reaction occurs along the surface of the needle. These images were captured under UV light.

This is how I created “Volcano” and “Blue Lava”.