The Charles H. Scott Gallery is pleased to present a new body of work by Vancouver artist Scott Massey. The sculpture, photography and video works in the exhibition explore cosmology, quantum physics and universal constants. Linked by the physical properties of light and the paradigm-shifting potential of the ground glass lens, each work expands the notion of our collective journey through time and space.
The speed of light, commonly denoted c, is a universal physical constant important in many areas of physics. In his book, The Universe Within, Theoretical Physicist Neil Turok refers to the experiments of Max Planck when he writes, “The strange story of the Quantum begins with the humble electric light bulb.” Planck hypothesized the existence of a constant, now known as Planck’s constant, which links a wave or particle’s frequency with its total energy – a theory that forms the basis of quantum physics. In his ongoing series of short videos Heat=Light=Heat, Scott Massey makes visual the relationship between the common tungsten light bulb and quantum physics through simple actions performed during a single, unedited take.
The artist’s Empty Moon (for Yves Klein) merges two iconic photographs, Yves Klein’s Le Saut dans le Vide (Leap into the Void) from 1960 which depicts the artist frozen in flight and Harold Edgerton’s stroboscopic image Milk Crown from 1938 capturing a milk drop in a split-second of motion. The stoppage of time in both images creates an anxious desire to see what comes next and in his sculptural installation Empty Moon (for Yves Klein) Massey starts the clock again.
In La Lune Perdue, Scott Massey looks to the beginning of photography and the history changing Daguerreotype. One of Louis Daugerre’s earliest images, a picture of the moon, was the first astronomical photograph ever made. It was later destroyed in a fire and lost forever. Massey recreates Daguerre’s photograph through a combination of antique and updated technologies. The relationship between photography and celestial bodies continues in Transit (viewed through unexposed processed transparency film), a large photograph the artist made during the June 5th 2012 transit of the planet Venus across the face of the sun taken in the desert outside of Las Vegas, Nevada.
Untitled (An object kindly enclyning) is a video of a large magnifying lens spinning on an illuminated glass surface. The way in which it moves in an unexpected and endless loop plays with perception and logic. In addition to addressing the physics of the spinning lens, Massey is also interested in the lens itself and the shift from undisputed belief to scientific observation of the heavens that occurred through the advent of the ground glass lens.
The magnifying lens takes centre stage in Cloud Making (viewed under the principle of least time, or constructive interference), a sculpture incorporating an elaborate system of magnifying lenses. A droplet of water hits a heated dish above a Bunsen burner and becomes a cloud of steam. The light from this action is inverted by multiple lenses making the cloud appear to fall rather than rise as logic would dictate it should.
Scott Massey graduated from the Emily Carr University of Art and Design in 2003. His work has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions throughout Europe and North America.