A scientist turned artist will show how even poisons such as cyanide can be transformed into outstanding artworks when he appears at Ireland’s premier art show Art Source at the RDS.
With degrees in physics, life sciences and microscopy, Karl Gaff combines his love for science, nature and photography by creating photographic art from chemicals and collections from the natural world.
The 37-year-old from Lucan is one of a few artists in the world who specialise in this genre of creating colour by experimenting with chemicals, alcohol, cosmetics and other household products, through crystallisation methods under microscope.
His work will appear at Art Source in the RDS from November 11-13, which is expected to attract over 15,000 people to the year’s biggest and most exciting art show.
“A fusion of art and science, my chemical work reveals works of art that manifests during the self-organisation of molecules during crystallisation,” he said.
“The photographs reveal an order in the crystals that can only be revealed through polarisation microscopy.
“Nature is the artist, I am just her photographer. I supply her with the ingredients and she weaves them together into the most wonderful forms.
“One of the things that inspires me to create chemical art work is the occasional thrilling discovery of a pattern that I have never seen before.
“Looking through the binoculars of the microscope, you witness before your eyes, the sporadic unfolding crystalising formations, in an otherwise transparent soup of chemicals.
“Skin creams have an amazing structure when crystallised and cyanide is one of the most beautiful things I’ve photographed. The patterns look like wildflower gardens
“Every crystallisation process is different and can never be repeated. It’s almost like a kaleidoscope. The colours and shapes are ever-changing.”
An exhibition by Damien Hirst, the English artist who has just burned hundreds of his artworks, will be the centrepiece of Ireland’s premier art fair, Art Source, at the RDS next month.
The fair will also play host to a unique sculpture garden featuring over 40 top Irish and international artists featuring works by renowned sculptors such as Patrick O’Reilly, Salvador Dali, Giacinto Bosco, Ian Pollock, Eamonn Ceannt, Bob Quinn, Anthony Scott and Sandra Bell.
Over 15,000 people are expected to attend the year’s biggest and most exciting art show, which will feature 160 of the best contemporary Irish and international artists and galleries.
Irish art lovers also have the unique chance to get their hands on 100 pieces of original artwork for €100 each on a first-come, first-served basis on the opening morning of the show on Friday, November 11.
“Art Source offers visitors the opportunity to purchase a one-off affordable original artwork to make their home unique and also the opportunity to meet the artists and hear about their work,” said show organiser, Patrick O’Sullivan.
“The event is where the industry meets to see what is going on in the Irish art world, and this year is our biggest yet, with the widest range of art styles anywhere in Ireland.
“The reason the show is growing so much is the quality of the exhibitors. Irish people are interested in arts and culture at heart, and, once they see it, many people make a point of returning to the fair annually.”
The show will also feature Source Your Own Art, a free children’s pop-up art workshop where youngsters are invited to express themselves creatively in response to the art they see at the fair.
Admission is €10 adults. Children under-16 free, if accompanied by a parent or guardian. For further information, see ArtSource.ie.