v.2 The Medium
About the Polage Art Medium
cellulose, polarizer, transparent support, available or artificial light
Polage is an art form invented by Austine Wood-Comarow in 1967. This colorful artwork is created with no pigment of any kind. Just as a prism breaks white light into the pure colors of the spectrum, Austine’s materials — cellulose and polarizing filter — break up light make up her palette. Without a lightbox or a polarizing viewer, a Polage might look as it does at left — areas of color, but mostly gray, like etched glass.
But dramatic changes appear when you view the piece through a polarizing filter or place it in a special motorized lightbox. Instantly, the Polage comes to life. All the colors of the rainbow make up each intricate image. It morphs gently, the colors’ change giving you a continuous flow of imagery.
Polage is painting with light, but the method of making these works of art is more like sculpture. Each piece is painstakingly hand-built, capturing light and structuring its changes into images that relate to and complement one another.
This multidimensional aspect of Austine Wood Comarow’s work brings a third dimension of meaning into the work in time, rather than in space. Museums all over the world have commissioned and collected Austine’s Polages including: The Boston Museum of Science, La Cite des Sciences et des l’Industrie, Paris, Technorama, Switzerland, Singapore Science Center, Great Lakes Science Center, Cleveland, and Disney’s EPCOT Center in Orlando.
Austine Wood Comarow's Paintings in Polarized Light:
A Museum Curator's Perspective
Read a Physicist's Presentation on the Physics of Polage Art, specifically the science of light itself that Austine makes use of in creating her pigment-less, colorful artworks.