Artists and scientists alike have been fascinated by the interplay of light and the human brain since the time of the ancient Greeks.

This area of inquiry occasionally leads to a search for light’s absence, methods and materials that confuse the eye by giving it, well, nothing.

Ad Reinhardt attempted it with Abstract Painting, a 1963 work made with null brushstrokes. It’s eerie to look at a painting with no brushstrokes, but there’s still something there. More recently, artist and scientist Frederick de Wilde talked with The Creators Project about his all-absorbing, nano particle-based lab creation called “the blackest black in the world.”

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Ad Reinhardt once said, “There is a black which is old and a black which is fresh. Lustrous black and dull black, black in sunlight and black in shadow.”