Building Community Through the Arts

“Mysterious and Unexpected: the Merger of Art and Science” Exhibition

July 1, 2016

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Spencertown Academy Arts Center Presents “Mysterious and Unexpected: the Merger of Art and Science” Exhibition

Spencertown, New York—Spencertown Academy Arts Center presents “Mysterious and Unexpected: the Merger of Art and Science” exhibition featuring artists Carrie Crane, Kay Hartung, Larry Kagan, Gwenn Mayers, Karen Schoolman, and Catherine Wilcox-Titus. There will be an opening reception on Saturday, July 23 from 4:00pm to 6:00pm and the show will remain on display through August 14. Gallery hours are Saturdays and Sundays from 1:00pm to 5:00pm.

“Art and science have much in common from the spark or hypothesis that generates an idea; to the discipline of the process; the risk taking with tools of the trade and the surprise of the result,” says curator Barbara Lax Kranz. “This exhibit displays the work of six artists who incorporate science to create their art. The processes are unique and the results outstanding and unusual.”

Often inspired by current issues in science, Carrie Crane’s recent work uses the tools of Knowledge Visualization (graphs, maps, and diagrams) to address issues of ambiguity and subjectivity in visual communication. Her work (from sketches to paintings to constructions) suggests maps and diagrams that are un-tethered to any particular data set. This allows the work, she says, “to be a free agent upon which any number of meanings may be placed and thereby highlighting the human tendency to draw meaning in large part from personal beliefs and experience rather than from presented data.” Crane lives in Boylston, MA.

Larry Kagan is a sculptor who uses steel, light, and shadow as a creative medium. A longtime professor of art at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, he maintains studios in Troy and New York City. He is represented by the Hirschl & Adler art gallery in Manhattan. “We are more or less aware of the presence of shadows, since they tell us something about our environment, but we do not actually look at them—unless they call attention to themselves by some unfamiliar or unexpected behavior,” says Kagan. “My challenge was to induce viewers to actually look at the shadow rather than solely at the steel. I began shifting more of the narrative burden to shadow. The more content the eyes could detect in the shadow, the more time and attention they would expend on exploring its details.”

Kay Hartung’s current series of encaustic paintings is related to her fascination with the microscopic world. “I have been looking at electron microscope photographs and am inspired by the abstract organic shapes and intense color of this hidden world. I imagine the energy and interactions that go on in the body and the mind to produce action and thought,” says Hartung. “I am exploring the connections between science and art; conscious of the profound effects that these minute biological forms have on the universe.” She is represented by the Fountain Street Fine Art Gallery in Framingham, MA.

Over the past two years, Gwenn Mayers of East Chatham, NY, has used her iPhone camera to document a wide range of images, including food, nature, shadows, and medical experiences, such as her mother’s chemotherapy treatments. She prints the photos and then works with charcoal, graphite, pastels, watercolors, acrylic, and collage to intertwine themes, creating new associations, new experiences, and new contexts with the images. “I have no preconceived idea of results, but remain open to chance, experimentation, and subjective associations,” says Mayers. “Focusing on the interplay between object-image-memory and experience, I search out buried thoughts, transformations, and connections.”

Karen Schoolman of Carmel, NY, is an abstract painter, a student of botanical illustration, and a physician. A packet of 50-year-old x-rays of her mother’s leg inspired her current artwork. Over time, the surface of the x-ray plastic had buckled in places, forming raised and flowing organic lines. On a whim, Schoolman decided to photograph them. “What I saw in the viewfinder of my camera was totally unexpected. The bones in the x-ray seemed to be immersed in a spacious and organic matrix with a brilliant light emanating from within. I recognized in this moment the potential that existed for merging my artistic and scientific interests,” she says. “What if we could look at a bone, for instance, and not be influenced by associations of fear, vulnerability, and even disgust? What if we could see bones as objects to be appreciated in terms of line, shape, and form?”

Catherine Wilcox-Titus is an assistant professor of art history at Worcester State University. She reflects her interest in art and science through photography, a medium that combines both disciplines. “The common denominator of science and photography is that both make visible many worlds that are not ordinarily available to natural vision,” says Wilcox-Titus. “I don’t necessarily want to fully understand intellectually what is represented. I just want to stand in close proximity to the mysterious and marvelous. I accept that all things are not necessarily knowable.”

Housed in a restored 1840s Greek Revival schoolhouse, Spencertown Academy Arts Center is located at 790 State Route 203 in Spencertown, New York. For more information, see or call 518-392-3693.


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