Blue / Green, 2015, Oil on linen paintings and fiber-based silver gelatin print, 14 inches x 24 inches

Deep Pink / French Blue, 2015, Oil on linen painting and fiber-based silver gelatin print, 14 inches x 24 inches

Blue Shift

Blue shift refers to the optical phenomena under moonlight where a monochromatic blue tint is visible. The Blue Shift diptych series consists of two-color paintings paired with black and white photographs of the same painting taken under moonlight. In daylight conditions, the paintings appear as a contrast between two colors, but under moonlight conditions, when our eyes see in greyscale, the paintings have an identical tone. The painting’s likeness to its representation shifts depending on the conditions of their viewing. In this way, the Blue Shift diptychs are time-based works and under the right conditions the paintings appear to move toward and away from their representation on a 24-hour cycle, only matching briefly.

In the diptychs—such as Pale Pink Yellow/Pale Magenta Blue (2015) and  Deep Pink/French Blue (2015)—where the contrast in the paintings is too great for the camera to reconcile, the photographs depict a painting with a bifurcated plane, highlighting the disparity between the eye and the camera. In these works, even under the best moonlight conditions, the photograph can never accurately represent the painting.

The painting’s likeness to its representation appearing to shift implicates the act of seeing as limited and the eye and the camera as instruments with contingent observational capacities. Through abstraction the Blue Shift Diptychs address the politics of perception and representation. Using one medium to undermine the authority of the other, these works present an opportunity to consider the complexities and conditions of vision itself. 

Blue Shift is informed by two years of research on color perception and retinal behavior under low light conditions before the creation of this series.