Art Exhibit “Continuum in Anthracene”

As a chemical microscopy major, I have seen aspects of science that are creative and beautiful in a unique way. I have always had an interest in the arts; my appreciation grew as I gained new experiences. I have used my opportunities at North Central College (NCC), a liberal arts school, to explore the arts through electives in both theatre and art. Not only have these electives provided me with new points of view, but they have inspired me to continue to do what I love, and to take up hobbies including sewing and scrapbooking.

I have managed to combine my love for science and art while working on my Chemical Microscopy degree through NCC in partnership with Hooke College of Applied Sciences. In my short time working with the polarized light microscope, I am experiencing a whole new world of science and art hiding in the shadows of technology, and am using this opportunity to photograph microscopical images to show the world that beauty can be found in unexpected places.

Using a polarized light microscope, I took these images in crossed polarized light. The use of crossed polarized light affects the particles’ coloring and can be a huge part of identifying unknown materials. Some materials viewed in this specific way are rather intricate and beautiful.

The images in the piece Continuum in Anthracene are of the organic chemical compound anthracene, which is a white to yellow powder when viewed with the naked eye. When mounted on a microscope slide and viewed between crossed polarizers, a sequence of colors and unique shapes are seen. The images presented here are of different positions within the same slide, each image unique in shape and coloring. The particles within the images are microscopic in size, the photos themselves a few millimeters across at the largest.

The frames created for these images resemble Victorian microscope slides which were made of ivory or bone. The decision was made to mount the images this way to represent the field of microscopy, both past and present. This not only completes the piece, it displays the long history of microscopes.

While making these photomicrographs, I was amazed by and in awe of the interference colors and shapes created by melting a few particles on a slide and viewing them through a microscope. The most amazing part for me is knowing that the smallest particle can tell a story if you let it. In choosing to share this as art, I hope to show the world how magical even the smallest of things can be if you take a moment to look at it.

Continuum in Anthracene
Taylor’s piece as exhibited in the NCC Community Art Show at the Oesterle Library Gallery, Naperville, Illinois.

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