Spectrum consisted of three gently curving elliptical reflectors that were mirrored on the front surface and backed with brightly hued fluorescent acrylic paint. The reflectors were supported above fluorescent tubes that were housed in rectangular light boxes so that no white light spilt across the walls or the sides of the other boxes. Only light which was reflected off the coloured surfaces was visible.
Each unit is carefully positioned parallel to each other so that the pools of reflected coloured light interacted with each other to create a secondary hue. Between red and blue reflectors a deep pink purple field became apparent, between green and red refl ectors a powerful and pure yellow light was manifest. The secondary colours appeared as subtle gradations from one primary to the next. The affect of these mixed pools of light was dazzling as the interplay of complementary colours tended to makes the viewer’s vision flicker with faint after images. One’s gaze would continually move across the work while never quite settling upon it.
Beyond this immediate affect of the piece there lay another level of phenomena. The sides of the light boxes, which sat in the shadow of the refl ectors and received no direct light, glowed with unexpected hues. The colours of the sides of the boxes were in sharp contrast to the pools of mixed light transmitted to the walls. This effect was highlighted by the light on the edges of the box which received the most intense concentrati on of the original reflected hue. Further to this, complimentary hues of colour sat in the shadows created by the end of the boxes. The composite affect was a carnival of unexpected colour and an intense illumination of perceptual gestalt.
This effect was reinforced in a different way when the piece was taken to a photographic studio to be documented for the exhibiti on catalogue. The coloured reflectors were moved into the studio and laid on the white floor and the photographer turned on the powerful halogen photographic lights. From underneath the reflectors an intense coloured shadow appeared. Yet from beneath the blue reflector sat a pink shadow, under the red reflector was a yellow shadow and beneath the green reflector an aqua blue. These serendipitous discoveries began an appreciation of the nature of spectral shadows.