We’ve heard the phrase “catching lightning in a bottle” but Bert Hickman gives the metaphoric idea a whole new meaning in his Captured Lightning series. The artist composes abstract, branching patterns onto a clear acrylic plane through the incorporation of millions of volts to create his sculptural lightning paintings. Furthermore, the Illinois-based 65-year-old manages to not only trap lightning within a transparent block, but he has also evolved his scientific art to produce images of trees, insects, and symbols by guiding the currents’ path through manually weakened routes in the panes.
Hickman’s experimental art, which reflects the vein-like extensions that electrical charges burn into surfaces they come in contact with, are referred to as Lichtenberg figures. The diverging patterns present in each of the artist’s “paintings” are natural occurrences from subjecting the panels to tiny lightning storms through a handy device known as a particle accelerator. Hickman is like a modern-day Zeus, painting with lightning bolts.
Check out the video, below, to get a glimpse of how Hickman creates one of his abstractly designed lightning sculptures.