Guest Blogger: Ann Williams, Art Director, SB&F
This image is from Ken and Julia Yonetani's recent exhibition, Crystal Palace: The Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nuclear Nations. The chandelier frame is made up of uranium glass beads, wire, UV light bulbs, and electric components.
Science has always been an integral part of art. Albert Einstein said, "Imagination in more important than knowledge." Leonardo da Vinci engaged in the art of science and the science of art. Andy Warhol used film in his portraits. If not entirely engaged in the arts, scientists throughout history have at least engaged in science with an artistic spirit. Scientists and artists use common tools for thinking such as intuition and imaginative processes.
Now, new technology has led to the development of artistic expression such as nano art, bio art, biotech art, digital art and fractal art. Artists are drawing on science to return to topics that have long appeared in art, such as the mind and body connections.
Susan Aldworth, Artist-in-Residence at the Institute of Neuroscience at Newcastle University in the United Kingdom, focuses on the human brain and issues of personal identity by creating autoportraits. They don't give a sufficient account of her personality so she reworks them through drawing, color, texts and pictures. She refines "self" and states, "You can look into my brain but you will never find me".
Ken + Julia Yonetani's art installations have attracted international acclaim and widespread attention to environmental issues. At the international art exhibition, Venice Biennale, their video installation Imagine Tree used pictures of stomata - tiny pores on the surfaces of leaves that permit the exchange of gases between the atmosphere and the inside of the leaf - taken with a microscope. The message for viewers is to "imagine no trees breathing".
Technology provides artists with a new look at nature. But at the same time it provides the technical means to shape nature. The artist Stelarc uses his own body as a testing ground by introducing robotics into it. In one of his performances, The Third Hand, the artist wrote "evolution" with both his hands, while a third hand is artificial and made-to-measure. In another, The Ear On Arm, he shows how he has grafted an ear made from cell culture onto his forearm.
These works demonstrate how artists can use science to make their fantasies believable and how they can break out of simple graphical representation. They can change human nature or explore animal and plant kingdoms. From this point of view, the collaboration between artists and scientists holds many possibilities for contemporary art.
More information about these artists can be found at:
This blog post is the second in a series of posts on science and art written by Ann Williams, the SB&F art director. Ann is an accomplished fine artist and illustrator. She has worked as a graphic designer, publications manager, book illustrator, and art director., and has received numerous art and design awards for her work.
Image Credit: Courtesy of the artists and Artereal Gallery, Sydney.
4 Apr 2013 3:53 PM