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The sound of colour

Siren sculpture

Siren is a painted sculpture that incorporates the ideas of colour related to sound.

Siren is a painted sculpture using Resene Lumbersider that incorporates the ideas of colour related to sound that the artist, Michael Smither, has been investigating since his art school days. Nestled in an Auckland urban garden surrounded by trees, in keeping with its name, it calls out to you for attention.

View of the Sang Siren sculpture

The Siren uses the 12 colours of the colour spectrum arranged to reveal, as the spectrums ascend in a spiral, their formerly hidden pulse. The 12 colours of the visual spectrum are related to the 12 notes of a musical octave. This arrangement of colours is the key to the sculpture’s success and makes full use of the artist’s understanding of colour and its connection to sound and colour. It utilises the harmonic components that enrich all sound.

Resene Bright Red (pure red), Resene Grenadier (bold orange red), Resene Pizazz (dynamic orange), Resene Yellow Sea (orange yellow), Resene Broom (bright golden yellow), Resene Bahia (lime green), Resene Wham (yellow based green), Resene Observatory (bright peacock green), Resene Lochmara (chromatic blue), Resene Jacksons Purple (ultramarine blue), Resene Kingfisher Daisy (clean violet) and Resene Geronimo (pink red) come together as the Siren colour scheme.

When Michael was working in his Karangahape Road studio, Auckland, in the 1990s the studio was a close neighbour to the fire station. The sound/colour models he was making had a starling response when the fire siren sounded. These little sculptures, which were based on the harmonic relations of sound, had a strobing response when the fire siren sounded. And so he has called this harmonic tower ‘Siren’, a tower of balanced spiralling rainbows.

The Siren was awarded the Resene Total Colour Display + Product Award. The judges found that “the Siren is just mouthwatering. Its form and colour is delicious, it’s exciting and pure. With the perfect proportions it could still be amazing without colour, but the colour adds so much intrigue. The colour gives it a sense of spiral and movement that adds a new form to it, over and beyond the structure. Incredibly beautiful the judges were in awe of it.

Architectural Specifier: Ron Sang & Company Ltd
Building Contractor: Moir Park Developments Ltd
Colour Selection: Michael Smither
Painting Contractor: Michael Smither and Otama helpers
Resene Representative: Russell Davidson
Photographer: Alian Jan
Winner: Resene Total Colour Display + Product Award
Project: Resene Total Colour Awards 2012
From the Resene News – issue 4/2012

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Resene Total Colour Awards 2012


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