A Mysterious Attraction

November 4, 2021

If you are planning to visit the Space Centre by January 2022 be sure to check out the temporary exhibit A Mysterious Attraction A new spin on gravitational art by Edzy Edzed and Pierre Leichner.

The work is exhibited on the main level in the entry to the Cosmic Courtyard and on the lower level in the display case.

Gravity is a fundamental force for our existence. Yet its very essence remains a mystery. Ripples in the fabric of space-time, gravitational waves, were first detected in 2015 by LIGO, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory. They arise from the collision of extraordinarily large objects such as black holes and neutron stars. These collisions generate heavy elements such as gold, platinum and lead. Many astrophysicists believe that gravitational waves could open doors to a deeper understanding of our universe, even possibly its very origin.

In this body of work, we explore the force of gravity artistically. This mixed media presentation aims to engage viewers visually and physically in the experience. These works are imaginative representations, however, each of the works was made using gravitational force directly and some can be activated by it.

Our works are informed by abstract expressionism, spin and fluid art. Pouring or splashing paint was popularized by abstract expressionists Jackson Pollock and Helen Frankenthaler. Fluid painting originated in the 1930’s with Mexican artist David Alfaro Siqueiros. In the 1950’s Eugene Pera began spinning canvases vertically. This technique was modified by several illustrious artists, including Jean Tinguely, Alfons Schilling, Annick Gendron, and Damien Hirst.  

Our interest in art and science brought us together. Art and science are two sides of the same coin, which is our search for meaning and understanding of the world around us. We share this curiosity about the visible and invisible world around us. We also are comfortable using experimentation as a method to find novel techniques and aesthetics to express ourselves. We share our knowledge with each other while maintaining our individual approaches. In this project we engage a force in nature to become our artistic brush. Thus, we hope that the viewers will be inspired to experience our universe in a different way.

Gravitational Waves Doors series #14 (2021)
Acrylic paint and resin on wooden door and mirror.
Pierre Leichner

Golden Ripples in Spacetime (2018)
Acrylic Paint on Gouged Plywood
Edzy Edzed

Gravitational Waves Doors series #15 (2021)
Acrylic paint and resin on wooden door and shell.
Pierre Leichner


Meet the Artists

Pierre Leichner
I describe myself as an interdisciplinary research artist. I am a full-time artist since finishing my MFA studies in 2011 following a 35 year career as an academic psychiatrist. During my art studies I became aware that art and science share many similarities. At their core, they share in the pursuit of meaning and existence. However, I believe that art has lost its place to science, business and entertainment as a way of knowing.

My practice has evolved to be a composite of socially engaged art, environmental art, installation and visual art. My artistic research has led me to explore psychosocial issues within the community such as social isolation, and environmental issues such as plastic pollution.

The subject of this present project is more mysterious and difficult to imagine as it addresses the paradox of living in continuously changing space–time environment that we do not perceive while being continuously aware within our bodies of the gravitational force in it. The recent validation of the existence of gravitational waves and black holes opens up the door to a previously unseen, unheard and unfelt universe.

Gravitation Door Black Hole Door 1 (2019)
Recycled door, acrylic paint and resin.
Pierre Leichner

Gravitational Waves Doors series #12 (2021)
Acrylic paint and resin on wooden door.
Pierre Leichner

Edzy Edzed
In the beginning I dreamed to be a fine artist while still training in graphic arts and the realm of commercial art. By then I had a nuanced background in most of the trades through a high school education that emphasized science, trades and technology. I thought that skill set might lead me to a novel artistic expression given enough time and knowledge even before I’d really started. In 1992, I completed this background with an BFA (Hons) degree from the
University of Victoria.
During that time and since then, I focused on creating a style that gave expression to non-objectively gouged painted wooden panels, bearing in mind the history of artistic development. I studied the art world from the zero-point in painting to the pluralistic works of today referencing them in my own oeuvre.
After LIGO detected the first gravitational waves from the collision of two black holes in 2015, Pierre Leichner and myself started collaborating on referencing these new discoveries through art. Most of the painting would rely on chemistry, gravity, viscosity and inertia, as did matter in spacetime itself.  
My personal goal is exploring techniques and various aesthetics that can inspire others to see our universe in new and different ways!

Rotational Disc (2020)
Acrylic Paint, Styrofoam, Gouged Plywood
Edzy Edzed

Spinning Disc (2020)
Acrylic Paint, Styrofoam, Gouged Plywood
Edzy Edzed

A few questions for the artists

Where else have you shown this work?

Portes Gravitationnelles - Centre Culturel Francophone de Vancouver, Vancouver BC - Pierre Leichner
A Mysterious Attraction - Pierre Leichner with Edzy Edzed and Bill Westwell - Cultch Gallery
Feeling the Pull - Pierre Leichner with Edzy Edzed - Britannia Art Gallery, Vancouver, BC
A Mysterious Attraction -  Pierre Leichner with Edzy Edzed and Bill Westwell - PoMoArts (Port Moody Arts Centre), Port Moody, BC

Feeling the Pull - Pierre Leichner with Edzy Edzed - Michael Wright Art Gallery, Port Coquitlam,BC
Feeling the Pull - Pierre Leichner with Edzy Edzed - Silk Purse Gallery, West Vancouver, BC

Feeling the Pull - Pierre Leichner with Edzy Edzed - Delbrook Community Centre, North Vancouver

Why did you choose to incorporate found objects?

Pierre: I use found objects in many of projects for several reasons:
Ecological : recycling and repurposing materials.
Aesthetics : the way the objects look e.g. used
Conceptual: the object holds a memory in its molecules.

Edzy: I use found objects in making a whole new. Collage itself dates back to the invention of paper in China circa 200 BC..
It was popularized by the 10th c. Japanese poets and calligraphers, embellishing surfaces with text and papers. In modern times, Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso used various glued materials as elements within their paintings and sculptures. Even more recently, Dada artist Marcel Duchamp was known for the found object as artwork by displaying completely unmodified commodities that were not manufactured to be art material.

I believe in reflecting art historical ideas and processes that may enhance my visual message. Found objects can be useful as visual metaphors, colourful elements, for magnetizing, and mechanizing, lighting or even for molds, not to mention the benefits of recycling through repurposing as we all should consider.

Will you continue to explore these concepts in your work?

Pierre: I started with focusing on gravitational waves then included black holes.
I am now becoming interested about the event horizons of black holes as places that hold memory of what may have fallen in.  The mystery of gravity remains central to the exploration and making of the works.

What is currently inspiring you?

Edzy: We are at the very beginning of knowing our inner and outer universe; having just scratched the surface. I am fascinated by the techniques that historically led to new discoveries. I wonder about the glue that holds our universe together and how we create that imagined reality through our collective minds. Perhaps scratching the surface is a useful metaphor for those who are constantly excavating for new ideas and discoveries. I also scratch, gouge, router and generally excavate leaving traces in the surfaces of my paintings as a metaphor in that search for new ways of seeing the universe.

Motorized Void in Blue Iris (2014)
Acrylic Paint, Motor, Sprocket,
Convex Mirror, Gouged Plywood
Edzy Edzed


Learn More

To learn more about the artists check out their bios on the PoMoArts (Port Moody Arts Centre) website Edzy Edzed and Pierre Leichner. Learn more about the exhibition here and a watch video interview here.

To learn more about some of the concepts explored in this exhibit check out some of our blog posts Black Holes, Gravitational Waves, Neutron Stars, and Dark Matter.