Located at the interface of art and science, Franziska Schenk’s artwork and supporting research draws on latest findings from material science, optical physics, and evolutionary biology. With iridescence as her focus, Schenk has dedicated the last few decades to converting novel bio-mimetic color-technology to the painter’s palette. Schenk's ultimate aim is to introduce, via novel color-shift, ‘the dynamic’ into painting - historically a decidedly static medium.
Until now, iridescent hues such as those found on the wings of certain butterflies have never been encountered in the art world. However, facilitated by concerted scientific study of nature’s millennia-old color optics, Schenk has arrived at vital clues on how to adapt and adopt these challenging new nanomaterials for painting. And indeed, the resulting artwork, like iridescent creatures, fluctuates in perceived color and pattern, depending on the light and vantage – thereby extending the canon of art by adding new colour spectra, novel visual realms and modes of expression.
Both for scientists and artists, there remains much to be garnered from nature’s ingenuity. Whilst harking back to the exemplar of the Renaissance painter as chemist, material scientist and, in this case bio-physicist, this work makes a unique contribution to the emerging field of bio-optics and its creative application in the form of contemporary “smart” bio-art.
Learn more about Franziska Schenk at http://www.franziskaschenk.co.uk. Learn more about Schenk's work on Biomimetics, Color, and the Arts here. Click here to read 'The lesser purple emperor butterfly, Apatura ilia: from mimesis to biomimetics' (2020) by Franziska Schenk and Doekele G. Stavenga.