.....Advertisement.....
.....Advertisement.....

The Science in art

-A A +A
By John Werenko

Telos in Greek means the end or purpose for which something is done and teleology is the study of the evidence of design in nature. “The Art Expressions in Technology and Science” exhibition, showing in the Art Center at Fuller Lodge Gallery, raises important questions as to the end or purpose of art and its relation to the end and purpose of science.Are the ends of science the same or radically different from art? If they are different, what are those differences? Does art participate in some way in the scientific method? Can art only illustrate/demonstrate the processes of science and technology?“Art Expressions in Technology and Science” asks and proposes to answer some very penetrating questions.The exhibition at the Art Center demonstrates that art, technology and science share a telos or purpose, by giving evidence of design in nature through the use of analogies and a shared logical scheme.It is fitting that The Art Center at Fuller Lodge is the host for this exhibition. The community of Los Alamos, for the past 60 years, has been the center for scientific and technological research. A significant number of the 28 artists in this exhibition have been or are practicing scientists and artists. They are engineers, medical doctors, biologists and psychologists. Several of the artists are married to scientists, some of whom have worked at Los Alamos National Laboratory.Consistent with the theme, this exhibition was organized through the help and assistance of the Museum of Natural History in Albuquerque, Matt Celesky and David Baccadutre, the Albuquerque Museum with Douglas Fairfield, The Forum for Science and Art in Santa Fe with Susan Latham, and Matrix/New Grounds Print Workshop with Tyler Anderson of Albuquerque. Aside light of “Art Expressions in Technology and Science” is the fact that one of the artist participants is Hilda Appel Volkin. Her husband Howard was a physicist in Los Alamos during the 1970s and Hilda was the first director of The Art Center. She and her husband are retired in Albuquerque where she maintains her studio and continues to produce works that are science and technology related. Her pieces in this show are made of anodized aluminum with LED lighting. The colors have a high metallic finish as in her work “Ancient Seas.” The Art Center staff welcomes Hilda Appel Volkin’s return and thanks her for the contribution she has made to the arts in Los Alamos by her directorship.Melissa Alexander’s “Knitted Genome Project” adds a light and humorous touch to the exhibition. Her scarf has the DNA helix knitted into the fabric. Kent Wood’s photographs of lightning bolts are arresting in their clarity. They could be used as demonstrations in a science text for the effect of a lighting charge in the atmosphere. Gordon McDonough returns to the Art Center for the third time in a year. He has submitted a work titled “Viscosity – A Homage to Arthur Ganson.” It is made of wood and steel and actually works.Bradford L. Wright’s “The Liberation of Graph Paper” makes light fun of traditional engineering models. His three-dimensional structure looks like a maquette for an abstract sculpture. Upon closer inspection, however, one sees that this one is made from graph paper. Suzannah Smith’s close-up photographs of a lighthouse lens have a science-fiction-like quality. One of the most unusual works in this show is a ring by Omar Juveland. When the stone is opened one finds a USB Flash Drive hidden inside. Deborah Balog, another returning artist to the Art Center, presents us with intriguing fractal giclee prints: “Beetles,” “Julia’s Ribs” and “Wax Flowers.” They have a mysterious metallic quality giving the viewer a feeling of frozen machinery.Jerry Beguin’s digital art photographs and mixed media in ink, acrylic and colored pencil are reminiscent of the symbolism one finds in the late work of the famous post-impressionist, Paul Gauguin. David Delano, a cartoonist, serious figure and portrait painter has blended those talents in his “Score 1” and “OHH!” Both paintings depict the theme of man and machine, an ace WWII pilot in action. Ellen Randall’s two untitled works look like patterns produced on a photo plate of emanations from a particle accelerator. They also recall the art of Antoni Tapies, the great Spanish modernist painter. Most of these artists call Los Alamos their home.Mike Edge of Abiquiu is a recent addition to New Mexico. He and his wife Toshiko moved here a few years ago from New York. Both are accomplished artists. Edge’s sculpture is made of painted steel and his elegant black and white prints project a feeling of an engineer’s precision in both thought and process. Edge’s work exploits the interplay between positive and negative space as well as line.Douglas Fairfield, curator of art for the Albuquerque Museum, recommended several artists who work with ideas compatible to the theme of science and technology. Marilyn Christenson’s “Cosmic Source,” a work in encaustic, and also Bonny Lhotka’s time-related art works describe a universe governed by quantum mechanics.The Natural History Museum in Albuquerque provided Anton Friis, Mary Sundstrom, Matt Celesky, Terry Lawson Dunn and Doug Czor. Sundstrom’s work, paleontological images from the Crataceous Period, are diorama paintings for a dinosaur exhibition. Matt Celesky, a graphic designer at the museum, fittingly provides us with illustrations of Delabrosaurus and Megalancosaurus.Dunn, a wildlife scientist in the field of environmental communications, covers tabletops with plant forms. Friis’ work includes a massive head titled “Ishi,” generating a feel for the anthropological. His other two works are detailed bas-reliefs of landscapes at a helicopter eye view, “Bas Relief Coastal” and “Bas-Relief Bisti.” Czor shows in “2am Diffraction Grating, Toward the Light and Galileo’s Ginkgo Tree,” holographic images of startling intensity that glow like stained glass. Czor also referred the Art Center to Susan Latham of the Forum for Science and Art in Santa Fe.Latham, Leah Siegel, David Holmstrom, Ursula Freer and Susan Denniston are all artists who are affiliated with the Forum for Science and Art in Santa Fe. Latham’s exquisite metal sculptures are biomorphic crystalline structures that defy the medium. Siegel presents mercurial images in digital formats. Holmstrom’s wooden automobiles are something out of Roger Penske’s dream for NASCAR. Freer’s work is also about quantum mechanics with her digital imagery, collage and acrylic as “Luminous Photon,” “Time Travel,” “String Theory 2” and “Superconductivity.” Denniston’s artwork includes a number of media, including jewelry and handcrafted paper.A former medical doctor, Michael Orgel’s stone sculptures are a metaphor for the human body. Eliza Schmid’s “Circuitry of Plants” is rendering. Diana Dearen presents traditional art subject matter through computer enhanced digital images. The Matrix/New Grounds Print Workshop in Albuquerque presents the work of Pamela Di Mauro. Her detailed etchings of plants and birds have the intensity of a Durer woodcut with the surreal quality of a Redon.The Portal Gallery will be exhibiting artists from the Los Alamos Studio Tour. Participating artists are Menolda Bakker, Allen Brown, Dean Carstens, Linda Ettinger, Kathy Hjereson, Connie Pacheco, Eris Peterson, Marke Talley, Pat Walls, Bruce Warren, Mary Carol Williams and Karen Wray. Selected artists will be doing demonstrations in their studios.An opening reception for the exhibit will be held from 5-7 p.m. Friday at the Art Center.John D. Werenko is the executive director of the Art Center at Fuller Lodge.