Peter Matthews

From the Sun to the Sea Floor

2015. The blackest paint on earth, Mars black (PBK11), Ivory black (PBK9), earth and sunlight scorching on canvas. 167cm x 167cm. 4 paintings in series.

Over 95% of the universe is made up of dark matter. In collaboration with the Jacob's School of Engineering at the University of California San Diego and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, four canvases were painted with the blackest paint on earth, a chemically engineered nano particle paint used in the advancing solar energy industries. Capable of withstanding outdoor temperatures of 750 degrees Celsius and having light trapping properties within the structure of the paint, the four canvases were taken to the wilderness of the Anza-Borrego desert in California. Using a Fresnel lens and working in the desert over three days, sunlight from the celestial vaulting of the sun was harnessed and concentrated through the lens to transform and intensify the sunlight into heat, effectively channeling light through the painting's surface. These light transmissions passing through the blackest paintings created voids, where the harnessing of light which traveled approximately 8 minutes from the sun to the earth and channeled through the lens created a cosmological and physical interaction and exchange where raw light created a spatial void. The paintings were painted with these light voids In a desert area which was once a living sea, so conceptually and geologically, the paintings came from the bottom of what was once a thriving sea but is now gone, with traces of sunlight that have also passed on but transcend into alternative energies which now spiral the universe of time and matter.

   Project documentation from the Anza-Borrego desert, California.