Negative Mass: An artwork by Jonathan Kay 

10 July – 7 September | Atrium on Takutai Square | FREE ENTRY 


Jonathan Kay’s work Negative Mass is an investigation of the relationships between science and art. Made with simple materials, it speaks to a poignant and layered issue we are confronted with on a global scale: the gradual melting of ice caps and glaciers in this age of climate change. 

This work began its life on Takutai Square, where the fabric sheets you see here were treated with photographic chemicals to create a large-scale cyanotype. Creating a cyanotype relies on three basic things to produce an accurate analogous image: a light-sensitive surface, a light source and contact. Whatever stands or sits between the surface and light will create a negative form on the fabric – in this case, the patterns of water from the melting ice blocks that were placed on the sheets in Takutai Square, a memory of the solid objects that once were there. 

Jonathan Kay is a Wellington-based artist. This work was commissioned by Britomart as part of the exhibition The Slipping Away: Art and the Ocean Deep at Gus Fisher Gallery.