This week’s feature piece from the Becky Phillips collection, “Sublime Encounters: Science and Art Collide,” is Higgs Boson IV. As the title suggests, it is the fourth in Becky’s series of ten paintings and a personal favorite. Whether it is the vibrant color scheme or the movement it emanates, this work is brimming with energy. Becky echoes this sentiment, saying that in the process of painting this particular piece she began to “discover that [she] was reenacting the collision itself.”
Perhaps another reason for its appeal to me is Becky’s use of “masculine colors.” In explaining her process, Becky revealed that she began with the complementary colors orange and blue. After laying down the initial colors, she continued to “repeat some of the objects” she had used in Higgs I – III to create a circular effect of radiant light. The blues she used are not bright or vibrant, but instead are tempered with black and grey tones to create an ethereal background that serves to enhance the intensity of the beam of orange paint that flashes diagonally across the canvas.
The resulting piece communicates the imperceptibly powerful nature of the Higgs Boson particle; a flash of brilliance and then just like it was never there at all – NOTHING.