The Black Body Problem

In this work, I was thinking a lot about the major problem in science called the black body problem. For what I know and understand about the black body problem, is that people knew that things that were black absorbs light without reflecting much light back, but they didn’t actually know how it worked. It was in 1900 that Max Planck came up with a formula that helps explain how it worked. He took other theories and reimagined light, not as a constant wave but being in packets. The interesting thing about Max Planck’s work for me was that it allowed Einstein to think and see the world around him in a new way which directly led him to his own theory of relativity. As I worked on this painting I was thinking a lot about the Black Body Problem that America has always had. We are a country built on slave labor.
Even with civil rights and it being the year 2016 we still have a black body problem in America. Whether it is prison population, cops shooting black men, or just racist comments it is evident to me that we do not live in a post-racial society.

The figure in the paintings is St. Louis Cardinal pitcher Bob Gibson. Who played for the team from 1959 to 1975. He was a nine-time All-Star and two-time World Series champion, and he was awarded two Cy Young Awards all during the same time as the civil rights movement.

During his playing days, he was discriminated against by rival teams, their fans, his own fans and some of his own teammates because he was black.
He absorbed all the negativity that was hurled his way without giving any of that hate back. He was focused on giving his pitches all he could.

When watching old footage of him pitching, I could see that he was giving it all from his full body windup to the exploding of all his power through the very tip of his toe, he gave his everything into each pitch. Often as he released his pitch, he would be falling over himself towards first base with little to no reserves for the next pitch.

For me, Bob Gibson really emulated my ideas I had about Max Planck’s own ideas, about the Black Body Problem. He also seemed to have live it too. Even with all that hate and discrimination, he absorbed he never step down to the level of those that hated him. Just like Max Planck’s way of rethinking of light in a new way, I think it is about time that we really need to rethink discrimination in this country. Until we don’t really understand the problems that black body experience in our society, just like science we won’t be able to move forward.

Artwork Info

Type of Work painting, drawing
Medium latex paint, welding crayon, on drop cloth
Dimensions 5' X 6'
Subject Matter race, racism, racist, max planck, Bob Gibson, Einstein, science, light, black, body

Artist Info

Troy Mathews

Joined: August 26, 2013

Rights: All Rights Reserved

Appears In 1 Album

17 items

Troy Mathews BFA Painting & Drawing Thesis Fall 2016