On Capturing the Intangible

May 11, 2021
CloudMap No. 1 painting detail | Copyright © Maria Lorena Lehman
CloudMap No. 1 painting detail | Copyright © Maria Lorena Lehman

When success arrives, when scientists achieve the “eureka” moment, they often describe their reaction in aesthetic terms. In 1957, Richard Feynman and Murray Gell-Mann developed a theory of interaction between fundamental particles. The theory did not agree with some recent experiments but had aesthetic qualities that convinced its authors. Feynman described the moment of discovery: “There was a moment when I knew how nature worked. It had elegance and beauty. The [darn] thing was gleaming”.


 — Deep Affinities by Philip F. Palmedo



 Within this world, there are many forms of beauty to perceive physically and intellectually. For example, one may see a beautiful sunrise or appreciate a beautiful mathematical formula. In most all cases, such beauty evokes emotion, and even deep contemplation. Thus, it seems beauty can help us go beyond seeing the world “as is”, to ultimately perceive a deeper, more imaginative realm where creativity flourishes.



 Within my artworks, I reach into new forms of beauty that creatively capture the intangible. For example, one of my latest paintings, entitled CloudMap No. 2, celebrates the transient and nebulous topographies of clouds in the sky; thus, creatively re-imagining moments where clouds intersect, travel through one another, and dynamically vary their density. I ask: What if I can “artistically map” this, otherwise invisible, form of beauty? The result is a glimpse into nature that presents it as it has not been experienced before.


Through my art, I use beauty to creatively “touch” the invisible.

About the author

Maria Lorena Lehman

Maria Lorena Lehman is a visionary artist, designer, and author focusing on links between environmental design, science, emerging technologies, and human potential. Lehman is founder of MLL Atelier, an art-based architectural design research practice. Maria Lorena Lehman is author of the award-winning book entitled, Adaptive Sensory Environments. She is recipient of the Harvard University Digital Design Prize for the "most creative use of digital media in relation to the design professions". Lehman also creates sculptures and paintings described as "visual poetry of motion that is a new inspiration" by Daniel Smith, the company that creates watercolors for artists worldwide. Maria Lorena Lehman holds the degrees of Master in Design with Distinction from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, and a Bachelor of Architecture, Cum Laude, from Virginia Tech. She is internationally published and in numerous periodicals, including The Architect's Journal, Esquisses Magazine, Architect Magazine and Forbes.