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January 11, 2013

The Colour and The Shape*

Although we’re already eleven days into January, this is my first official blog post of 2013 (not counting Double-Take Tuesdays). Trust me, ideas have been simmering in my head for awhile, and I’ve finally put together all the pieces. They’re visual associations I’ve made from things I’ve observed over the past few months. Think of them as random musings to kick off the new year.

Musing #1

In late December, I saw this cool crescent-shaped house in the NY Times real estate section:

Check out these curves: minimalist house designed by architect Shigeru Ban in Japan.

My immediate reaction was that it looks like Leo Villareal’s light installation at the National Gallery of Art:

The “Multiverse” LED installation turned upside-down.

Musing #2

During my commute into DC from Virginia, my train goes over the Potomac River and runs parallel to the 14th Street Bridge. And everyday, we pass by this little lighthouse:

Part of my morning routine is staring out the train window at this hexagonal structure in the middle of the bridge. It’s apparently the control room where, back in the day, a worker would raise and lower the drawbridge so boats could pass underneath.

Here’s a closer-up photo that I managed to capture as my train whizzed by:

Kind of odd, right? What the heck is it? Some kind of psychedelic disco light?

Preparing this post forced me to Google it, using the search terms “colorful lighthouse 14th street bridge dc.” Lo’ and behold, an enlightening (sorry, couldn’t resist!) Washington Post article came up as the second result. In 2009, the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities asked landscape architect Mikyoung Kim to create a “unique artistic enhancement” to the structure. The public art project involved the installation of dichroic acrylic in the tower’s six windows, creating a kaleidoscope effect. OK, now it makes sense.

And then last week via Flipboard, I saw artist Bahar Yurukoglu’s recent work, including this similar geometric beauty:

Ms. Yurukoglu “uses blocks and shards of acrylic…to create temporary installations of floating color fields, dense with pieces of refracted light.”

Musing #3

This past November, as I was paging through Flipboard yet again (I love that app!), I came across this story about a short film by multimedia artist Jeff Frost. While its esoteric premise remains beyond my grasp, this was one of the screen grabs in the article:

The film “The Flawed Symmetry of Prediction” features a time-lapse of “perspective-bending optical illusions” in the American West. Huh?

That image reminded me of these die-cut colored cards that I had bought at the Hirshhorn (I also have a set in black-and-white):

The Color Game by Naos Graphics.

You can create new, seemingly 3D designs by changing the order of each panel in the stack.

* Title also refers to the stellar Foo Fighters album containing one of my all-time favorite songs, “Everlong.”

Update on March 25, 2014: Shigeru Ban, the Japanese architect who designed the minimalist house shown in the first photo, wins the Pritzker Prize.