Second Silence

June 12 - July 11, 2009

atmospheric optics IX

Atmospheric Optics IX

Aurora are spectral, lurid and nigh impossible to photograph. Megan Jenkinson, in a marvelous series called Atmospheric Optics, has (re)created their optical play over landscapes of Antarctica using digital photography, photoshop and prismatic plastic lenses. The effect is best described as lenticular. And it enables the artist to phase a sequence of images, thereby capturing a sense of time within a single frame.

atmospheric optics XISo, in Atmospheric Optics IX, the Ross Sea ice shelf as seen from Scott Base is photographed low in the picture plane. We see pools of meltwater amongst pressure ridges made by waves passing underneath the ice. Above is darkness, the work is black. But only intermittently, as this is also a space alive with flickering light. Flashing greens, yellows and blues shimmer like great curtains of light, their movement illuminating the snowscape below.

In Atmospheric Optics XI, a handsome aerial shot low in the dry valleys burns alongs its ridge line in orange and purple - this sensation of heat on the horizon changing dramatically as one walks past the work. The effect is deliberately flame-like. Then, when almost past, a single shaft of blue/green lights the sky, radiant and god-like - a metaphor that Jenkinson quite literally takes one step further in the series The Heavens Opened. In this trinity of works, cumulus-filled skies change colour according to the dominant palette in famous crucifixions by Van Eyck, El Greco and Delacroix. These works are subtle but sentinel. 

Stages of Inner Light - all phases

Less subtle are the works in The Spectrals series. The Voice of Reason and Stages of Inner Light present objects from the personal collection of the architect Gaudi: an object in clay and a Dominican prayerbook. The latter turns radiant orange and green, reversing out with an almost devotional, Rothko-like modernist intensity. While The Voice of Reason is spun enigmatically within its frame, the feeling more New Age and crystalline, more rhyme than rational reason. T'is from the possession of Gaudi - what else would we expect?

the voice of reason_all phases
   The Voice of Reason - all phases

   The Voice of Reason

    The Collection


  Atmospheric Optics XI


List of Works

Atmospheric Optics series
digital lenticular polypropylene prints
editions of 5 +2 AP, framed

1. Atmospheric Optics IX, 2009, 900 x 1200mm

2. Atmosopheric Optics XI, 2009, 900 x 900mm


The Heavens Opened series
digital lenticular polypropylene prints
editions of 5 +2 AP, framed

3. Van Dyke, Crucifixion, 2009, 590 x 480mm
    El Greco, Crucifixion, 2009, 590 x 380mm
    Delacroix, Crucifixion, 2009, 590 x 480mm
    Le Seur, Deposition, 2009, 490 x 490mm


Spectrals series
digital lenticular polypropylene prints
59 x 39.3cm, framed
editions of 5 +2 AP

4, 5. & 6. Stages of Inner Light, 2009

7. The Collection, 2009

8. The Voice of Reason, 2009


Megan Jenkinson would like to thank Antarctica New Zealand and Creative New Zealand for generously sponsoring the Antarctic Artist's Fellowship that enabled her to visit Antarctica at the end of 2005.

Megan Jenkinson lectures at the Elam School of Fine Arts, The University of Auckland. She would also like to acknowledge the tremendous support she has received from the University and the NICIA Faculty, by way of a research grant that enabled her to extend her investigation of the lenticular process.