October Exhibit: Frederic C. Kaplan, "The Metarealist Paintings"
Metarealist art is defined as “realistic depictions of the abstractions that comprise the cosmos.”
My imagery comes from physics. I became interested in science and especially physics as a teenager. It was an interest that remained in the background, more a curiousness than a compulsion, until Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time was published in 1988. Before reading Hawking’s book, the internal anatomy of the universe seemed hidden by a thick skin. After reading it, it was like a supernova had erupted in my brain.
I started reading everything I could get my hands on about physics – – theoretical physics, particle physics, astrophysics – all kinds of physics. It was inevitable that eventually the things I was reading about would eventually find their way into my art.
One of the strange concepts I learned about was that the world looks different depending on where you are and how fast you are moving. According to Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity, the faster you go the more compressed things appear, like an accordion being squeezed. And time passes more slowly if you hang out near a large gravitational object, such as the Sun, than if you park on a small object like Venus. To suggest this idea, many of my pictures are partitioned into several segments, each segment representing a different spatial scale or separate timeframe.
Mists and clouds that often appear in my pictures are metaphors for the principle of uncertainty that Werner Heisenberg predicted. His theory suggests that there are many possible locations simultaneously for an object, so the object appears fuzzy, like a cloud.
The tiniest particle of reality is one Planck length, named after Max Planck who invented quantum theory. The slab-like forms that inhabit my pictures represent Planck units of matter and light. They also refer to the four dimensions of spacetime described by Einstein.
These three scientists and their theories form the basis of my art.