The form of art known as termespheres is essentially a unique, six-point perspective painting done on a sphere. The term comes from the artist, Dick Termes.

"It's like diving into another world."
--Dick Termes

The Art:

Termespheres are paintings turned inside out. The paintings usually depict some scene, as inside a cathedral or a neighborhood, or some surrealistic involving loads of fun, almost Lovecraftian geometry. Some of these paintings look as though they'd serve well as Pink Floyd album covers. The idea is to put the observer inside the painting without actually putting him inside . The change is handled by a six-point perspective, which is handled by defining a circle and six vanishing points in the space of the circle. Of course, on a sphere, the points are much more dynamic as they stretch around the surface.

The spheres themselves are hung on wire and rotate slowly, as things hung are wont to do. As they turn, they reveal a panoramic scene. Those scenes depicting action appear very active, and those depicting stillness appear very still. On one particular piece, Fission of the Check (1971), the artist incorporated four extra vanishing points that provide depth in the ten-point perspective termesphere. The effect is similar to looking at a photograph of earth from space and noting how it gets blurry at the edges due to the atmosphere. Of course, ordinary six-point perspective provides the illusion of more or less standard depth (hallways tapering farther back, people in the foreground being larger than those in the background), but this particular 'sphere looks as though all the objects are just below the surface of the sphere.

The Artist:

Termes received an MA from the University of Wyoming and a Master of Fine Arts degree from the Otis Art Institute with his termesphere thesis. He's been painting termespheres since 1968, having done over one hundred sixty paintings. Not all of these paintings are spherical, but the coolest ones are.


Yuck: facts.