Mirror Paintings

I’m investigating “mirror paintings” for a series of painted works  based on a simple Claud Lorain mirror I made from a prop used in my experimental film The Healing Room.

Italian artist Michelangelo Pistoletto has been painting figures on mirror or polished metal since the 1960’s. His figures are typically politically charged and the mirrored surface includes the viewer into the composition. A large ongoing body of his work revolves around the use of mirrors.

More recent, paintings on mirrors by American Rachel Fienstein could be seen as directly coming from art history, portraits of female figures from history such as famous ballerinas.

From art and design history there are Chinese mirror paintings and European decorative mirrors and furniture. Elaborate Meissen porcelain frames give the appearance of a framed painting while reflecting the scene in front of the viewer.

Whether painted on the surface, or painting in reverse, mirror paintings turn negative white space in a composition into the immediate environment. A more recent work by Pistoletto of a chain link fence with a toxic warning sign puts you the other side of the fence and in the danger.

Coen Young’s mirror paintings are a kind of crude daguerreotype process. A blend of painting and photographic sensibilities.


Ellen Harvey’s “Broken Claude Glass” (2010) is a “shattered relic reflecting a dark broken view of a small idealized landscape.”


Other “keywords” I’ll continue with as part of my research: folding painting, reflection paintings, bi-fold, cabinet or box forms, repetition of imagery.