Category Archives: Uncategorized

Pristine Beauty

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…the artworks have a pristine beauty, but warn of a polluted future.
-Mark Jenkins writing about Voyage of Discovery in the Washington Post

Science Caturday: LOLCatCare

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This week, tech giants Apple and Facebook announced that they would begin covering the cost of egg freezing for their employees, allowing female techies to put off childbearing until…some more convenient time, I guess. However, the fact remains that some employees will want to have kids, and Facebook’s new headquarters will provide daycare for dogs but not for children. Someone’s got to take care of the small humans! Luckily, I have devised an elegant solution that combines the best of the internet with real life: LOLCatCare™.

A crack team of cat nannies will care for the babies of Silicon Valley until they are old enough for preschool. Tasks such as feeding and changing babies, which are difficult for childcare workers without opposable thumbs, will be rendered unnecessary by training babies to eat and drink from bowls on the floor and use a litter box. Babies will gain key motor skills by chasing feathers and red dots. Blankets and boxes will be thoroughly investigated. Naptime, of course, will be led by top-level experts.

I see no way this plan can fail. You’re welcome, America. You’re welcome.

The Art of Science: Density Fluctuations

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Ellyn Weiss, Unidentified Specimen, Wax and Pigment

Concepts of time and change center the work of three artists in a show entitled Density Fluctuations that opened yesterday at the American Center for Physics in College Park, MD. The exhibition features work inspired by physics and biology by Shanthi Chandrasekar, Stephen Schiff and Ellyn Weiss in a variety of media. Chandrasekar, who studied physics before becoming a painter, explores the differences in the understanding of time as expressed in science and myth. Stephen Schiff morphs photographs, starting with images of nature and multiplying them and reconfiguring them like cells to create new, complex geometries. Ellyn Weiss uses layers of wax and pigment to create her imagined versions of creatures discovered by science as layers of ice melt. The intriguing shapes of her sculptures hint at unknown species of animals or strange mineral deposits. Together, the work of these three beguiling artists in approaching such heady topics is sure to provide plenty of food for thought.

Density Fluctuations is on display at the American Center for Physics until April 2015. More information is here.

Shanthi Chandrasekar, Chakra-Neer, Acrylic on Canvas

Shanthi Chandrasekar, Chakra-Neer, Acrylic on Canvas

Science Caturday: Time Kitteh is Deep

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Imagining Deep Time, an art exhibition at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, DC, tackles the profound theme of “deep time,” the timescale not of human life but of trees, rivers, mountain ranges, even stars.  The exhibition features works by 15 artists in a range of styles and media including painting, photography and sculpture. Curator JD Talasek says that the exhibition “explores the role of the artist in helping us imagine a concept outside the realm of human experience.”

The show runs until January 15. More information, including a downloadable catalog, is here.

 

The Art of Science: Pollination as Inspiration

Pollen Grains, Jo Golesworthy

Pollen Grains, Jo Golesworthy

To many people, pollen is a nuisance, coating cars and irritating nasal passages. For artists Jo Golesworthy and Wolfgang Laib, pollen is an inspiration.

Pollen grains are the tiny cases holding the male reproductive cells (gametophytes) of flowering plants. The grains come in a variety of shapes and sizes and have a wide range of surface markings and textures, making them useful for plant identification in fields such as paleoecology, paleontology, archeology, and forensics.

This variety marks the sculptures of Jo Golesworthy, a UK-based artist who creates massively scaled-up versions of many types of pollen from alder and birch to pussy willow and poppy. Her pieces, made by hand from a limestone compound, can be displayed outdoors, where the artist says they will “slowly grow a botanic patina of their own.”

Wofgang Laib, Pollen from Hazelnut, 2013

Wofgang Laib, Pollen from Hazelnut, 2013

German artist Wolfgang Laib creates his works out of real pollen, meticulously arranging it in lines, grids, mounds, or – for his largest work – a glowing golden carpet.  Laib’s spectacular 2013 installation, Pollen from Hazelnut, an 18 x 21 foot rectangle of pollen sifted onto the floor of New York’s Museum of Modern Art, required more than a decade’s worth of pollen that the artist himself collected from around his hometown. Laib says that his work, although almost entirely based on nature, refers to many other things, including devotional practices and ancient art.

But essentially, it’s all about the pollen.  As Laib told MoMA, “pollen is the potential beginning of the life of the plant. It is as simple, as beautiful, and as complex as this. And of course it has so many meanings. I think everybody who lives knows that pollen is important.”