Particle Spin

My new series Particle Spin is part of my ongoing Particles project, an attempt to depict the super-small quantum world.  For these new paintings, I am working on circular panels rather than rectangular supports. Every painting has a magnet embedded in the panel that allows the paintings to be spun to any desired orientation.  Multiple paintings in an installation can also be swapped to different positions quickly and easily, as each panel is connected to a countersunk magnet on the wall.


Entagled Particles (Particle Spin #9, Particle Spin #8), Acrylic on panels with magnetic mounting, each panel 8″x8″, overall dimensions variable,  2022

These pieces continue my aim of relating formal properties of abstract painting to the mathematical and physical concepts that underly particle physics.  The series name references the fact that fundamental particles have quantized spin, a property that relates circular and linear motion, and for which it is hard to develop a good intuition of what this means at a quantum level based on macroscopic systems.  A pitched baseball might spin in any direction and at any rate relative to its forward motion – it does NOT have quantized spin.  Quantized particle spin is at the heart of some of the most mysterious particle phenomena, such as the Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen paradox, in which paired particles are locked into complementary spin states; observing the spin state of one of them determines the spin state of the partner particle instantaneously, even if the pair is separated by light years of distance.   In these paintings I am exploring various formal structures inspired by quantum relations, including making pairs of paintings with similar or complementary painted or collaged elements, and exploring the broken circular symmetries in fluid nets or dynamic jets of paint.

The paintings are executed in acrylic paint and feature splashes and splatters from a very dynamic application of the paint Some of the paintings are executed on top of watercolor paper mounted on the panel; in some cases, these paper elements are cut and collaged in various patterns.  There are subtle pencil and ink marks which I use to suggest three-dimensionality of the swirling particle traces.