These 23 Maine artists participated in the 2013 Art Meets Science exhibit. Read about this program and the collaborations between artists and our scientists in the Fall 2013 Connections magazine.
“The imagery of my sculpture is derived from nature and the forms are organic. Sources for ideas come from flora and fauna and small biological specimens. This organic iconography suggests themes of germination, growth, cyclic changes, and regeneration. The fact that one expects these forms to be tiny is important as they become unexpectedly more powerful when enlarged to a gigantic scale when carved from solid logs. By enlarging the size of the forms, I wish to make the viewer aware of his/her size in relation to one’s environment and also to add an element of surprise or humor. The sculptures are meant to be first seen from afar then engage the viewer to walk among them and touch the textural surfaces. As an artist, I wish to cause the viewer to become more aware of his/her body, size, and surrounding space as well as to enhance one’s connection to the natural world.”
“Lelania is passionate about calligraphy and the ability to choose and visually enhance compelling words and messages that have the potential to influence, inspire, and encourage others. The Mysterious Art of Gulf of Maine Phytoplankton is inspired by her former work with Dr. Jane Disney and the Maine Phytoplankton Monitoring program. It has also been an intriguing exploration into the medium of weaving words and images, recently learned from fellow MDI artist, Shira Singer.”
“Each photo in the series documents the things I found beautiful or curious on a particular beach on a particular day. Because they are so rooted in time and place, the compositions become stylized beach portraits. As I research the things I find or observe, the photos also record my growing understanding of the coastal environment.”
“I came from a family of hookers, rug hookers. Wendell Burger, my father, was a biologist at MDIBL from 1938-1966. Ruth, my mother was the first in the family to hook rugs, dad soon followed.”
“I collaborated with Jane Disney, Ph.D. to learn about her eelgrass research. After meeting with her, I developed paintings based on photos she had taken in Frenchmans Bay. I chose one vibrant photo that showed researchers collecting eelgrass in the beautiful ocean landscape that we have here on MDI. The other photos I chose represent the active life underwater in the eelgrass. These paintings are realistic, while I also use ‘artistic license’ to create whimsical or slightly abstract areas.”
“Inspired by the Arts and Crafts style woodblock prints of the early 20th century, I began to explore the color woodblock print medium myself about a dozen years ago. I have slowly developed my own approach and techniques, co-opting contemporary tools and materials in a way that I believe is a unique new process in an old medium. I’m striving to create woodblock prints that have a painterly look to them, and radiate a distilled sense of joie de vivre. The views I offer are not of the world as it is, but rather the world as it should be… brighter, warmer, happier, and more gratifying: Idealism.”
“Creating a likeness of a textbook illustration with pharmaceutical vials evokes an obvious dialogue. But the perspectives within the conversation are uniquely influenced by interactive experiences with pharmaceuticals, often determined by age range demographics. For some the financial cost becomes the primary topic, while for others the rise and consistency in their wide range use is most discussed.
“The thematic undercurrent of my sculptural and installation-based work deals with crossovers between the worlds of art and the medical sciences. At times, presented comparisons evoke contrasting perspectives with the audience. While other sculptures seek to reevaluate interactions between processes and society, at times immortalizing them in tribute.”
“Blacks ‘n Jacks is a three dimensional tribute to the hole mice play in the progress of scientific discovery. The sequencing of the human genome would have been impossible without these small rodents. After considerable thought, instead of creating a 2 dimensional painting of mice, I treated the subject as a 3D design project as I would have done years ago as a student at the school of the Art Institute of Chicago.”
“Acrylic landscape painting is the majority of my work and what I am best known for. Many of the works are influenced by the natural beauty of Mount Desert Island. For years I have also enjoyed painting other subject such as flowers of all kinds, often placing the vases of flowers on a chair with an intriguing shape in my New York City studio where I spend my winters.”
“The palm-sized works of spun fiber, gold wire, tiny beads and other objects might be taken as road maps, aquatic root systems, or even tiny lightning storms. Yet the fibers echo the forms of axons and dendrites. The physical nature of collage materials demands attention to connections, layering and texture. The very delicacy of the threads, which crudely mimic the far finer matrices of the cells themselves, underscores the complex nature of the microscopic worlds within each of us.”
“The theme of Layers of Time inspired me to conflate two of my particular interests. First is the science of geology and the way dramatic changes are recorded in the very essence of our planet.…The second element I drew from the theme of Layer of Time is about my personal surface-the clothes that I have worn since I moved to Mount Desert in 1972, and the way in which they reflect a distinctive social, political, environmental time and place.”
“While art and science are often viewed as vastly different disciplines practiced by highly divergent personalities – I have found the opposite to be true. Why do particular arrangements of molecules result in living organisms? Why do particular arrangements of shape and color appear beautiful to our eyes? The simple yet elegant mystery that lies behind both of these questions leads artists and scientists down different paths, but in both cases it calls to creative minds inspired by curiosity.
“When I first visited Dr. Dustin Updike in his lab he showed me some microscopic images of an experiment he had been working on. The images showed how manipulation of some genetic material in a cell caused it to transform into a different type of cell. As an artist, I too use the tools of my trade to transform what I see into something, which may be entirely new. During this collaboration with Dr. Updike, I have become even more aware of how similar the process of experimentation and discovery is for both scientists and artists.”
“My work now revolves around using clay and canvas and making Raku pottery and Sagger Ware pottery. I spend 30% of time making the pots and 70% of my time decorating them. I use images from nature to create graphic patterns and themes on the pottery. No two pieces are alike. The images are always changing as I refine them. And I am having fun.”
“I began a dialogue for this art and science project by examining Dr. Voot Yin’s Photographs, diagrams and drawings of the Zebra Fish. I tried to imagined what the life of a scientist is in terms of seeing; how the spatial shifts and the examination through a microscope might be much like an abstract painting in that there is no certain foreground, middle ground and background. An idea can occur could be in the process of disparate connections, pushing one beyond what is known or assumed in their ‘field of vision.’ As in art, I value the scientific investigation as a process of creativity. I referenced key words used in Dr. Yin’s work, which included: ‘regeneration, cellular structures, circuitry, transformation, repression, manipulation and propagation.’ All of these concepts have been ongoing and fundamental to my work in that they express process as well as form and content. The paintings are on aluminum panels and made in Distemper (a traditional hide glue and pigment media) combined with Dr. Yin’s images scanned onto archival paper and embedded into the paint. All the work was specifically created for this exhibition.”
“I am an artist, investigator, experimenter, explorer and educator. My recent work has involved several series that visually and metaphorically reference land, maps, strata, geology and geography. Process and its evidence have emerged as an essential aspect of this work.”
“Through representation, I am interested in memory and discovery. Memories of times when ones heart is fully open. Revulsion, attraction, reverence, smell, sound, and texture are conveyed through complex, intimate arrangements. I am fascinated with the exquisite things passed by or unexposed, the concealed, the fecund. As with naturalists of past centuries, I hope to inspire curiosity and inspection.”
“The CK/memory/Series are more recent scientific meditations on structure, behavior and nature of our biological imaging found in our memory and our dreams. In order to explore how visual image is formed via experience, I would spend several years photographically documenting a specific object in different times, locations and everyday circumstances. These multiple recordings/documentations were then reduced to minimal opacity (practically made transparent) and were digitally all printed on top of each other by re-running single/same piece of paper through an inkjet each time next image-sequence was being printed. The single piece of paper would go through an inkjet on average 65 times to create a “composite image”, that is neither singularly photographic, nor hand generated, but formed from the process of layering minimal and abstract information of different views and time moment sequences of single subject matter. The final result is a fleeting image with a sense of vague dimension, multi-view perspective and general loss of linear and/or photographic memory.
“Transforming Vision – Memory V print is a variation and extension of the work in re-photographing process and practice of addressing the memory loss or the sense of forgetting inherently present in reproductive technology and multi documentary media. Drawing parallels between the loss of quality in reproduction and the natural biological memory loss, a photograph was taken of the part of my studio, and was then re-photographed usually several hundred times, each time photographing the last state previously captured. The subtle loss of the fixed definition and documentary quality was apparent and very visible over time, to the point of ultimately driving the original image content to complete abstraction. The print exhibited is a graph like image of one such state, far into the process.”
“Infinity Explained is an interactive piece that presents the similarities between micro and macro as my explanation of the universe. It’s a telescope and microscope mounted together when the viewer puts left eye in micro and right eye in macro and blur the images together. It demonstrates that the concept of infinity does not belong in the realm of mathematics, but in philosophy, and the idea of scale.”
“I have been fascinated by the elusive qualities of light and color as long as I can remember. In my work I have sought to capture the ever-changing patterns that vary with the movement of branches and shadows through the landscape, with the seasons, the time of day, and the weather. My search to reflect this spirit of the landscape has expanded from classical landscape drawings and paintings, mixed media collages to the exploration of assemblages of found objects, dichroic glass, and offerings from nature. While the materials may vary, the works are linked by this recurring theme.”
Kathy Van Gorder
“Mother, professional gardener, midwife, photographer; I use my camera as a tool for slowing down, noticing, bearing witness and documenting the unspeakable beauty and diversity of life on our incredibly special and awe-inspiring planet.”
Mette Arup Watt
“My senses are led by the eyes. It is an ever-challenging adventure to decide how to go about describing thoughts in a visual manner. I use many different materials but never oils. (Why? Both my older sister and our architect father were oil painters,–guess I hated the smell of turpentine). I love to use water-based paints. There is nothing as peaceful as sitting in a field on a perfect day and contemplating a scene. There is nothing as exciting as trying to paint from a rowboat on a choppy day, trying to get the effect of water crashing on the rocks. The result of the latter is not always decipherable but often memorable.”