By Deborah Winiarski
In his 1930 essay, The World As I See It *, Albert Einstein wrote, “The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science.” As an artist, I too see the natural overlap of science and art. Investigation of the mysterious is at the core of both practices. Both artists and scientists ask the biggest of questions of themselves and of their work: What is true? Why does it matter?
Though artists look to reconcile their own feelings within their work and scientists deal primarily with probabilities, they both search deeply and painstakingly for answers in places where hand and mind are free—the scientist’s laboratory and the artist’s studio. The works below find direct inspiration from the mystery of the sciences—biology, geology, astronomy, physics—bringing the beauty of these micro and macro worlds to light.
Kay Hartung, Bio Flow 5, 2015; encaustic, pan pastel, pigment stick on wood panel;
30 x 30 inches
“My work is inspired by the microscopic world. I imagine the energy and interactions that go on in the body and the mind to produce action and thought. I am exploring the connections between science and art, conscious of the profound effects that these minute biological forms have on the universe.”
“Concepts for my work often coincide with breakthroughs in science that I find particularly compelling. Wave Horizon is my interpretation of contemporary astronomical discoveries about gravitational waves. The image is not interpreted in a literal sense, rather is a starting point for color and inspiration for the creation of movement, depth and atmosphere.”
Kim Bernard, Wave Phenomena, 2016; fabric, dye, encaustic medium, stainless steel;
disc diameters range from 18 – 54 inches
“This installation was inspired by images of sound vibrations and the natural phenomena of the movement of sound made visible. The book, Cymatics, by Hans Jenny was the catalyst for the series, where meticulously recorded sound vibrations at various frequencies were made visible through the use of powders, pastes and liquids.”
Lorrie Fredette, Common Carrier, 2015; beeswax, tree resin, muslin, brass, nylon line, steel;
52 x 48 x 48 inches
“Common Carrier, suspended in an important artery in this venue, utilizes the symbolic references of vessel and corridor. The architecture serves as the ‘host’ of an unknown contagion where the interchange of virus (the art) and victim (the building) reproduce and escape to reach its next target (the viewer).”
“We are hard-wired to seek out visual pattern, yet patterns that are easy to discern do not hold our attention. Foam’s unstable configuration challenges us to perceive its underlying architecture. Confronted by complex, hybrid forms that refuse to resolve into a predictable arrangement, our neural pathways remain excited, questioning, alive.”
Tracy Spadafora, Intervention (Part 3), 2016, encaustic and mixed media on braced wood panel,
20 x 20 x 2 inches
“This piece, from my DNA series, suggests the complex and often delicate relationship of man and nature. The bittersweet vine added to this work provides a visual reference to DNA, which is also echoed in the twisting red pattern below.”
“Taking poetic license with geology, I compare processes of the studio with processes of the earth. Layers of color form the strata of a working process where the immediacy of the hand is replaced with a sense of deep time.”
* The complete text of Albert Einstein’s essay, The World As I See It, can be found here.