Enclosed I and II

Locally-sourced tannic dye, Flathead Lake water, latex paint, acrylic paint, Chinese Ink, graphite, conte, colored pencil, glaze pencil, thread, and chemically-synthesized upconverting nanoparticle on yupo paper. 2019






These paintings combine microscopic imagery of phyto- and zooplankton from Flathead Lake; materials sourced in and around the lake; and FLBS data on seiche patterns, enclosed wave oscillation systems throughout the lake.


Many phytoplankton (tiny lake plants) need to stay near the surface to photosynthesize. Zooplankton migrate to the lake surface at night to eat the phytoplankton, and back to the depths during the day to avoid being eaten. This migration is made more difficult by the zooplanktons’ low Reynolds number. Because they are so small in comparison to the size of the water molecules, their daily commute might feel to us like swimming through molasses.





These pieces aim to evoke the feeling of this inertia through the use of viscous and vivid red—and to highlight the microorganisms’ experience of water, one very different from ours, by pushing plastic materials around the nonabsorbent surface of the yupo paper, which is made of polypropylene.



Click through for additional detail images:





Small white lines depict two of the lake-wide free-oscillation seiche modes (pictured below), and are painted with an upconverting nanoparticle, Sodium Yttrium Fluoride (NaYF4). The crystalline structure of the nanoparticle is able to temporarily store photons of non-visible wavelengths of light and emit them as visible light, a process used mostly in cell imaging and anti-counterfeit measures for currency. By shining an infrared laser at the piece, snippets of seiche data can be illuminated, pointing to the impossibility of generating a complete and accurate picture of the constantly oscillating motion of the lake.



Images showing infrared laser interacting with upconverting paint:



Thanks to:

Open AIR of Montana Creative Initiatives and the entire staff at Flathead Lake Biological Station of the University of Montana for support for this project, especially Stoney Sasser and Tom Bansak; Cody Youngbull, Zane Lindstrom, and Gary at the SensorSpace and Excelsior Nanotech Corporation for access to and help understanding the upconverting nanoparticle and infrared laser; Jim Elser and Jim Craft for a look at phyto- and zooplankton in the lake; and Mark Lorang for information about seiche patterns and water dynamics in the lake.



Figure (above): Kirillin, Georgiy, Mark S. Lorang, Thomas C. Lippmann, C. C. Gotschalk and Sebastian Schimmelpfennig. “Surface seiches in Flathead Lake.” 2014.