BAR HARBOR, MAINE – The MDI Biological Laboratory will launch the largest and most wide-ranging show in the five-year history of its annual Art Meets Science exhibit with an opening reception on Thursday, July 7, 2016. Encompassing the work of 45 artists and a timespan of more than 100 years, the quality of the work and the range of media and subject matter make the exhibit a standout in the influential art/sci movement.
The reception will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Kinne Library at the MDI Biological Laboratory. Pre-registration is requested, but not required. To pre-register, please visit mdibl.org/events/.
The exhibit delves into the history of art, science, the laboratory and Acadia National Park. The theme is tied to the centennial of the park, which was founded by visionaries such as George B. Dorr who saw the park as a means of preserving the beauty of Mount Desert Island, but also as a laboratory for the study of nature. Dorr was instrumental in the establishment of the laboratory on Mount Desert Island in 1921.
The title of the exhibit, “A Fresh Field of Life: Artists, Naturalists and the Vision for Acadia,” is drawn from his remarks at a celebration of the creation of the park:
“… what a splendid and useful thing it would be if we could provide down here, in a spot so full of biologic interest and unsolved biologic problems, so rich in various beauty and locked around by the cool northern sea, a summer home, however simple, for [scientists]…,” he said at the 1916 ceremony. “They would come down to work … on a fresh field of life, bird or plant or animal …”
As described by Dorr, the laboratory’s mission was to advance science by studying the the diversity of life. A hundred years after he purchased a farm in Salisbury Cove as the location for the new laboratory, it is still studying a range of organisms, though now with genetic tools that allow scientists to understand the molecular mechanisms underlying the processes of aging and the repair and regeneration of tissues in humans.
The 2016 exhibit spans more than 100 years of history – from images by 19th century landscape artists and naturalists whose enthusiasm for the beauty and diversity of life on Mount Desert Island led to the creation of the park, to artworks by scientists who use state-of-the-art technologies to explore natural subjects, including data-driven depictions of the impact of climate change and microscopic “selfies” of bacterial DNA.
The range of media represented by the approximately 150 artworks in the exhibit includes paintings, drawings, sculpture, photographs, paper, fiber and ceramics. While most of the exhibitors are from Maine, a number are from other states and abroad. Many are award-winning artists and scientific illustrators. The majority also have backgrounds in science, with some holding duel degrees in art and science.
Though the subject matter varies dramatically, including images of Acadia by local contemporary artists, representative works of flora and fauna and abstracts depicting complex scientific concepts, what links the artworks with one another, and with science, is the creative representation of the processes of observation and discovery.
“In celebrating the vision of the founders of the park and of the MDI Biological Laboratory, we are presenting a broad sweep of artworks representing more than 100 years of history,” said Annette Carvajal of Art in Public Spaces, who co-curated the exhibit with Bonnie Gilfillan of the laboratory. “All of the exhibitors share a passion for and commitment to the artistic process and the worlds of science and nature.”
Guided tours will be held twice weekly on Tuesdays and Fridays at 11 a.m. through Sept. 30, 2016. To pre-register (required) please visit mdibl.org/events/.
The exhibit is being staged in conjunction with the 2016 Art Meets Science Café lecture series, which alternates with the popular MDI Science Cafés lecture series on Monday evenings at 5 p.m. in the Kinne Library through Sept. 19, with the exception of July Fourth and Labor Day. The cafés, an educational outreach program of the laboratory, are open to the public and free of charge. Light refreshments will be served.
For the Art Meets Science Café and MDI Science Café schedules or to pre-register, please visit https://mdibl.org/events/. Pre-registration for the cafés is requested, but not required.