By Patricia Frischer
William Feeney detail of the inside out view of a shark
This is a very large and complicated exhibition but curator Chi Essary has ambitions which are worthy. The works in this show have depth because at least 16 of the artists were matched with a scientist and got to experience that scientist's work from anywhere from a few hours to three days. The pairs set their own schedules but this is still a very short time to expect much sharing and most of the exchange was a one way street with the artist learning about the science. That was why it was refreshing to read the quote from Ben Frable from Scripps Institution of Oceanography, The artist William Feeney "...really pushed my knowledge of internal anatomy to the limit, especially when thinking about how it would look inverted." The artists were all stimulated by the work of the scientists, but for me, having the scientists recognize the role of art in creative exploration is what helps give value to the world of art. Turning ideas upside down and inside out is the daily job of artists.
But even through the artists are mainly illustrating what they have learned, they are also letting the new knowledge inform their own work. We can still see their own styles and themes but with an added layer of complexity.
I think it is worth recording the curator Chi Essary's statement about the exhibition. "Whether it is climate change, drug addiction or comprehending life on a scale never imagined, the topics and themes touched on here affect us all. It is my hope that by seeing science through the eyes of the artist we are able to shift our focus outside of our personal worlds and consider novel ways we can impact each other and the planet. The science and art of the artists and scientists I paired for the exhibition should leave you with more questions than answers and with a deeper sense of awe for human determination."
It might help some of you to notice that the show is divided into three sections: Global Health and Discovery, Climate Change and Sustainability, and Technology and the Touch Screen. But I found that most important in the sound work of John Burnett. For Health we hear sounds of the heart and then the irregular sounds of things gone wrong. For Climate Change there are the sounds of nature and then the sounds of man and machine and finally in Technology we hear digital sounds. This is work by one of the ten other artists added to the show who were not matched by Essary.
There are seven major research institutions involved in this exhibition: La Jolla Institute of Immunology, Qualcomm Institute/CalIT2, Salk Institute, Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute, Scripps Institute of Oceanography, The Scripps Research Institute, and UCSD.
Bhavna Metha detail
Griselda Rosas detail
|Dia Bessett - the microbiome of the gastro-intestine have a symbiotic relationship and for a pregnant Bessett these were important areas for the strength of her baby.|
Dia Bessett detail
Dia Bessett detail
Sheena Rae Dowling is illustrating the way the brain electricity functions. But when an addictive substance is added all the other functions are hijacked to serve that need. In this instance all the lights go RED.
Becky Guttin detail
Akiko Surai detail
Hugo Heredia Barrera (in this enlargement of a cancer cell) - "I want people to see how delicate and sensitive and strong cells are and how, like glass, they can break at any moment."
|Alexander Kohnke is showing us a series of undigested parts of owl excrement. These have been enlarge photographically much as the world of cells and even atoms is now visually available to scientist using sophisticated microscopes.|
Alexander Kohnke detail
List of all the artists in the show divided by the topic category. Lots more to see that is not covered in this report.