COVER TO CANVAS ARTIST OF THE DAY – Steven McGovern, Visual Artist
Steven’s art piece for our exhibition is called The Mind Abhors a Vacuum. He manages to combine classical and contemporary ideas and aesthetics offering a very unique vision. There is something to discover in every corner of the canvas!
He tells us about the inspiration for the piece…
The book I chose to work from was Volume 1 of The Works of the Honourable Robert Boyle. Although he studied all facets of natural philosophy he is best known for Boyle’s Theory, which states that the pressure and volume of gas are inversely proportional. He proved this theory through experimenting within vacuums created with the assistance of Robert Hook. Since ancient Greece scientists had believed that it was impossible to create a vacuum and it was Aristotle who is attributed in first declaring that ‘Nature abhors a vacuum’ (Horror Vacui from Latin ‘fear of empty space’). This means theoretically once a vacuum was created nature would always find a way to fill it. Boyle proved that it was theoretically possible to create, maintain and experiment within a vacuum. On a more abstract level the human mind is still one thing which really struggles with emptiness, Buddhist monks spend much of their lives striving to achieve a true emptying of the mind through meditation and solitude. Boyle and other early scientists and philosophers are true examples of how the mind abhors a vacuum, studying all aspects of science, nature and theology, they were restless in their quest for knowledge and understanding of the natural world. Using this narrative I produced a painting which, in its form, construction and media, conforms to a traditional canon of painting, the portrait, but includes on a more conceptual level, ideas pertaining to his writings. Boyle wrote extensively on the properties of light and colour and how it reacts with surface, the eye and the brain. I specifically chose to focus on his scientific response to how the properties of light, colour and surface affect our perceptions of the natural world and how we, as a species strive for order and categorisation of nature, through scientific progress.
WANT TO SEE STEVEN’S WORK? COME ALONG TO OUR EXHIBITION. TO LEARN MORE ABOUT STEVEN MCGOVERN’S WORK, PLEASE CLICK HERE.