Category Archives: Visual Art

Call for papers: conference on sound art curation

It’s not exactly data sonification (my Feb. 7, 2014 posting about sound as a way to represent research data) but there’s a call for papers (deadline March 31, 2014) for a conference focused on curating sound art. Lanfranco Aceti, an academic, an artist and a curator whom I met some years ago at a conference sent me a March 20, 2014 announcement,

OCR (Operational and Curatorial Research in Art, Design, Science and Technology) is launching a series of international conferences with international partners.

Sound Art Curating is the first conference to take place in London, May 15-17, 2014 at Goldsmiths and at the Courtauld Institute of Art [both located in London, England].

The call for paper will close March 31, 2014 and it can be accessed at this link:
http://ocradst.org/blog/2014/01/25/histories-theories-and-practices-of-sound-art/

The conference website is available at this link: http://ocradst.org/soundartcurating/

I did get more information about the OCR from their About page,

Operational and Curatorial Research in Contemporary Art, Design, Science and Technology (OCR) is a research center that focuses on research in the fine arts. Its projects are characterized by elements of interdisciplinarity and transdiciplinarity. OCR engages with public and private institutions worldwide in order to foster innovation and best practices through collaborations and synergies.

OCR has two international outlets: the Media Exhibition Platform (MEP), a platform for peer reviewed exhibitions, and Contemporary Art and Culture (CAC), a peer-reviewed publishing platform for academic texts, artists’ books and catalogs.

Lanfranco Aceti is the founder and director of OCR, MEP and CAC, and has worked in the field for over twenty years.

Here’s more about what the organizers are looking for from the Call for Papers webpage,

Traditionally, the curator has been affiliated to the modern museum as the persona who manages an archive, and arranges and communicates knowledge to an audience, according to fields of expertise (art, archaeology, cultural or natural history etc.). However, in the later part of the 20th century the role of the curator changes – first on the art-scene and later in other more traditional institutions – into a more free-floating, organizational and ’constructive’ activity that allows the curator to create and design new wider relations, interpretations of knowledge modalities of communication and systems of dissemination to the wider public.

This shift is parallel to a changing role of the artist, that from producer becomes manager of its own archives, structures for displays, arrangements and recombinatory experiences that design interactive or analog journeys through sound artworks and soundscapes. Museums and galleries, following the impact of sound artworks in public spaces and media based festivals, become more receptive to aesthetic practices that deny the ‘direct visuality’ of the image and bypass, albeit partially, the need for material and tangible objects. Sound art and its related aesthetic practices re-design ways of seeing, imaging and recalling the visual in a context that is not sensory deprived but sensory alternative.

This is a call for studies into the histories, theories and practices of sound art production and sound art curating – where the creation is to be considered not solely that of a single material but of the entire sound art experience and performative elements.

We solicit and encourage submissions from practitioners and theoreticians on sound art and curating that explore and are linked to issues related to the following areas of interest:

  • Curating Interfaces for Sound + Archives
  • Methodologies of Sound Art Curating
  • Histories of Sound Art Curating
  • Theories of Sound Art Curating
  • Practices and Aesthetics of Sound Art
  • Sound in Performance
  • Sound in Relation to Visuals

Chairs: Lanfranco Aceti, Janis Jefferies, Morten Søndergaard and Julian Stallabrass

Conference Organizers: James Bulley, Jonathan Munro, Irene Noy and Ozden Sahin

The event is supported by LARM [Danish interdisciplinary radiophonic project; Note: website is mixed Danish and English language], Kasa Gallery, Goldsmiths, the Courtauld Institute of Art and Sabanci University.

With the participation and support of the Sonics research special interest group at Goldsmiths, chaired by Atau Tanaka and Julian Henriques.

The event is part of the Graduate Festival at Goldsmiths and the Graduate research projects at the Courtauld Institute of Art.

250 words abstract submissions. Please send your submissions to: [email protected]

Deadline: March 31, 2014.

Good luck!

Richard Van Duyne solves mystery of Renoir’s red with surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) and Canadian scientists uncover forgeries

The only things these two items have in common is that they are concerned with visual art. and with solving mysteries The first item concerns research by Richard Van Duyne into the nature of the red paint used in one of Renoir’s paintings. A February 14, 2014 news item on Azonano describes some of the art conservation work that Van Duyne’s (nanoish) technology has made possible along with details about this most recent work,

Scientists are using powerful analytical and imaging tools to study artworks from all ages, delving deep below the surface to reveal the process and materials used by some of the world’s greatest artists.

Northwestern University chemist Richard P. Van Duyne, in collaboration with conservation scientists at the Art Institute of Chicago, has been using a scientific method he discovered nearly four decades ago to investigate masterpieces by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Winslow Homer and Mary Cassatt.

Van Duyne recently identified the chemical components of paint, now partially faded, used by Renoir in his oil painting “Madame Léon Clapisson.” Van Duyne discovered the artist used carmine lake, a brilliant but light-sensitive red pigment, on this colorful canvas. The scientific investigation is the cornerstone of a new exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago.

The Art Institute of Chicago’s exhibition is called, Renoir’s True Colors: Science Solves a Mystery. being held from Feb. 12, 2014 – April 27, 2014. Here is an image of the Renoir painting in question and an image featuring the equipment being used,

Renoir-Madame-Leon-Clapisson.Art Institute of Chicago.

Renoir-Madame-Leon-Clapisson.Art Institute of Chicago.

Renoir and surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS). Art Institute of Chicago

Renoir and surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS). Art Institute of Chicago

The Feb. 13, 2014 Northwestern University news release (also on EurekAlert) by Megan Fellman, which originated the news item, gives a brief description of Van Duyne’s technique and its impact on conservation at the Art Institute of Chicago (Note: A link has been removed),

To see what the naked eye cannot see, Van Duyne used surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) to uncover details of Renoir’s paint. SERS, discovered by Van Duyne in 1977, is widely recognized as the most sensitive form of spectroscopy capable of identifying molecules.

Van Duyne and his colleagues’ detective work informed the production of a new digital visualization of the painting’s original colors by the Art Institute’s conservation department. The re-colorized reproduction and the original painting (presented in a case that offers 360-degree views) can be viewed side by side at the exhibition “Renoir’s True Colors: Science Solves a Mystery” through April 27 [2014] at the Art Institute.

I first wrote about Van Duyne’s technique in my wiki, The NanoTech Mysteries. From the Scientists get artful page (Note: A footnote was removed),

Richard Van Duyne, then a chemist at Northwestern University, developed the technique in 1977. Van Duyne’s technology, based on Raman spectroscopy which has been around since the 1920s, is called surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy’ or SERS “[and] uses laser light and nanoparticles of precious metals to interact with molecules to show the chemical make-up of a particular dye.”

This next item is about forgery detection. A March 5, 2014 news release on EurekAlert describes the latest developments,

Gallery owners, private collectors, conservators, museums and art dealers face many problems in protecting and evaluating their collections such as determining origin, authenticity and discovery of forgery, as well as conservation issues. Today these problems are more accurately addressed through the application of modern, non-destructive, “hi-tech” techniques.

Dmitry Gavrilov, a PhD student in the Department of Physics at the University of Windsor (Windsor, Canada), along with Dr. Roman Gr. Maev, the Department of Physics Professor at the University of Windsor (Windsor, Canada) and Professor Dr. Darryl Almond of the University of Bath (Bath, UK) have been busy applying modern techniques to this age-old field. Infrared imaging, thermography, spectroscopy, UV fluorescence analysis, and acoustic microscopy are among the innovative approaches they are using to conduct pre-restoration analysis of works of art. Some fascinating results from their applications are published today in the Canadian Journal of Physics.

Since the early 1900s, using infrared imaging in various wave bands, scientists have been able to see what parts of artworks have been retouched or altered and sometimes even reveal the artist’s original sketches beneath layers of the paint. Thermography is a relatively new approach in art analysis that allows for deep subsurface investigation to find defects and past reparations. To a conservator these new methods are key in saving priceless works from further damage.

Gavrilov explains, “We applied new approaches in processing thermographic data, materials spectra data, and also the technique referred to as craquelure pattern analysis. The latter is based on advanced morphological processing of images of surface cracks. These cracks, caused by a number of factors such as structure of canvas, paints and binders used, can uncover important clues on the origins of a painting.”

“Air-coupled acoustic imaging and acoustic microscopy are other innovative approaches which have been developed and introduced into art analysis by our team under supervision of Dr. Roman Gr. Maev. The technique has proven to be extremely sensitive to small layer detachments and allows for the detection of early stages of degradation. It is based on the same principles as medical and industrial ultrasound, namely, the sending a sound wave to the sample and receiving it back. ”

Spectroscopy is a technique that has been useful in the fight against art fraud. It can determine chemical composition of pigments and binders, which is essential information in the hands of an art specialist in revealing fakes. As described in the paper, “…according to the FBI, the value of art fraud, forgery and theft is up to $6 billion per year, which makes it the third most lucrative crime in the world after drug trafficking and the illegal weapons trade.”

One might wonder how these modern applications can be safe for delicate works of art when even flash photography is banned in art galleries. The authors discuss this and other safety concerns, describing both historic and modern-day implications of flash bulbs and exhibit illumination and scientific methods. As the paper concludes, the authors suggest that we can expect that the number of “hi-tech” techniques will only increase. In the future, art experts will likely have a variety of tools to help them solve many of the mysteries hiding beneath the layers.

Here’s a link to and a citation for the paper,

A review of imaging methods in analysis of works of art: Thermographic imaging method in art analysis by D. Gavrilov, R.Gr. Maev, and D.P. Almond. Canadian Journal of Physics, 10.1139/cjp-2013-0128

This paper is open access.

2013 International Science & Engineering Visualization Challenge Winners

Thanks to a RT from @coreyspowell I stumbled across a Feb. 7, 2014 article in Science (magazine) describing the 2013 International Science & Engineering Visualization Challenge Winners. I am highlighting a few of the entries here but there are more images in the article and a slideshow.

First Place: Illustration

Credit: Greg Dunn and Brian Edwards, Greg Dunn Design, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Marty Saggese, Society for Neuroscience, Washington, D.C.; Tracy Bale, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia; Rick Huganir, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland

Cortex in Metallic Pastels. Credit: Greg Dunn and Brian Edwards, Greg Dunn Design, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Marty Saggese, Society for Neuroscience, Washington, D.C.; Tracy Bale, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia; Rick Huganir, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland

From the article, a description of Greg Dunn and his work,

With a Ph.D. in neuroscience and a love of Asian art, it may have been inevitable that Greg Dunn would combine them to create sparse, striking illustrations of the brain. “It was a perfect synthesis of my interests,” Dunn says.

Cortex in Metallic Pastels represents a stylized section of the cerebral cortex, in which axons, dendrites, and other features create a scene reminiscent of a copse of silver birch at twilight. An accurate depiction of a slice of cerebral cortex would be a confusing mess, Dunn says, so he thins out the forest of cells, revealing the delicate branching structure of each neuron.

Dunn blows pigments across the canvas to create the neurons and highlights some of them in gold leaf and palladium, a technique he is keen to develop further.

“My eventual goal is to start an art-science lab,” he says. It would bring students of art and science together to develop new artistic techniques. He is already using lithography to give each neuron in his paintings a different angle of reflectance. “As you walk around, different neurons appear and disappear, so you can pack it with information,” he says.

People’s Choice:  Games & Apps

Meta!Blast: The Leaf. Credit: Eve Syrkin Wurtele, William Schneller, Paul Klippel, Greg Hanes, Andrew Navratil, and Diane Bassham, Iowa State University, Ames

Meta!Blast: The Leaf. Credit: Eve Syrkin Wurtele, William Schneller, Paul Klippel, Greg Hanes, Andrew Navratil, and Diane Bassham, Iowa State University, Ames

More from the article,

“Most people don’t expect a whole ecosystem right on the leaf surface,” says Eve Syrkin Wurtele, a plant biologist at Iowa State University. Meta!Blast: The Leaf, the game that Wurtele and her team created, lets high school students pilot a miniature bioship across this strange landscape, which features nematodes and a lumbering tardigrade. They can dive into individual cells and zoom around a chloroplast, activating photosynthesis with their ship’s search lamp. Pilots can also scan each organelle they encounter to bring up more information about it from the ship’s BioLog—a neat way to put plant biology at the heart of an interactive gaming environment.

This is a second recognition for Meta!Blast, which won an Honorable Mention in the 2011 visualization challenge for a version limited to the inside of a plant cell.

The Metablast website homepage describes the game,

The last remaining plant cell in existence is dying. An expert team of plant scientists have inexplicably disappeared. Can you rescue the lost team, discover what is killing the plant, and save the world?

Meta!Blast is a real-time 3D action-adventure game that puts you in the pilot’s seat. Shrink down to microscopic size and explore the vivid, dynamic world of a soybean plant cell spinning out of control. Interact with numerous characters, fight off plant pathogens, and discover how important plants are to the survival of the human race.

Enjoy!

A Planetary Order opens in Berlin’s (Germany) Christian Ehrentraut gallery on Jan. 10, 2014

Next Friday, January 10, 2014, artists Martin John Callanan, Rebecca Partridge, and Katie Paterson will be celebrating the opening of their new show, A Planetary Order, at Berlin’s Christian Ehrentraut gallery. From a Jan. 3, 2014 announcement here’s more about the show and the artists (Note: Links have been removed),

I {Martin John Callanan] would like to invite you to the first opening of 2014 in Berlin at Galerie Christian Ehrentraut, Friday 10 January 2014, 17-21h

A Planetary Order
Martin John Callanan, Rebecca Partridge, Katie Paterson
Galerie Christian Ehrentraut, Berlin
10 January – 15 February 2014

A Planetary Order brings together three artists who, though working in very different media, all explore meta-narratives of time, landscape and systematic abstraction with a combination of sincerity and playfulness. The juxtaposition of painting, sculpture and new media works emphasises the conceptual concerns of the artists who also share a meticulous minimalist aesthetic. The works hover between seriousness and humour, the romantic and the rational, reduction and sublime scale, all within a dialogue which encompasses works made both with highly traditional means and the most current new media technology. The exhibition reflects a growing interest in a return to metaphysical themes, which though sincere, is not without critical distance and awareness of the comical.

The exhibition found it’s name in Martin John Callanan’s A Planetary Order (Terrestrial Cloud Globe) a 3D printed globe which, sitting directly on the gallery floor, on close inspection reveals the cloud cover of one single moment in time. This inconspicuous piece is in fact an ambitious ‘physical visualisation of real-time scientific data’ taken from cloud monitoring satellites overseen by NASA and the European Space Agency. [emphasis mine] Callanan’s transformation of data into artworks which articulate both the enormity of interconnected global systems and our place within them, continues with his most recent work, Departure of All; a flight departure board displaying the flight information for every international airport around the world. Running in real time, the speed of global transit creates a dizzying account of single moments.

Katie Paterson provides a counterpoint to this overwhelm with her imperceptibly slow work, As The World Turns; a record player which, rotating at the speed of the earth, plays Vivaldi’s Four Seasons audible through headphones to only the most attentive listener. As with Callanan, Paterson’s artwork occupies a space far greater than the actual work- activating an imaginative space which is both metaphysical and comic; the record player suggesting the turning earth which we are able to look down upon.   Along the long wall of the gallery hangs Rebecca Partridge’s Notes on The Sea, a series of twelve minimal photorealist paintings calmly depicting fog veiled seascapes as polarities of night and day. In this work the archetypal romantic image enters into a contradiction with itself as it becomes part of a system. Playing with notions of duration, mathematic abstraction, and the possibility of painting a beautiful landscape, Partridge’s attempt to rationalize the epitomised romantic landscape is both meditative and absurd.

Martin John Callanan’s (1982, UK) artwork has been exhibited and published internationally, he has recently been awarded the prestigious Philip Leverhulme Prize for outstanding research within visual arts. Recent solo exhibiitons include Departure of All, Noshowspace (UK) and Martin John Callanan, Horrach Moya (Spain). His work has been shown as part of Open Cube White Cube, (UK), Along Some Sympathetic Lines, Or Gallery (Germany), Es Baluard Modern and Contemporary Art Museum (Mallorca), Whitechapel Gallery (UK), Ars Electronic Centre (Austria), ISEA, Future,Everything, Riga Centre for New Media Culture (Latvia), Whitstable Biennale (UK), and Imperial War Museum North (UK). Callanan graduated with an MFA from the Slade School of Fine Art, London in 2005, where he is currently Teaching Fellow in Fine Art Media. He lives and works in Berlin and London.

Rebecca Partridge (1976, UK) gained an MA in Fine Art from the Royal Academy Schools, London in 2007, since which time she has been exhibiting internationally. Recent solo exhibitions include In The Daytime at Kunsthalle CCA Andratx (Spain), Cabinet Paintings at Newcastle University, (UK), as well as numerous international group exhibitions most recently Verstand und Gefühl, Landscape und der Zeitgenössiche Romantik at Springhornhof Neuenkirchen. In 2008 she was awarded a fellowship from Terra Foundation of American Art in Giverny (France). Other awarded residencies include the Sanskriti Foundation (New Dehli, India); Kunsthalle CCA (Spain); Nes residency (Iceland) and the TIPP Program for Contemporary Art (Hungary). She is currently working on several curatorial projects and is a Lecturer on both BA and MA Fine Art at West Dean College, UK. She lives and works in Berlin and London.

Katie Paterson (1981, UK) graduated from the Slade School of Fine Art, London in 2007. Paterson’s work is known internationally, recent solo exhibitions include In Another Time, Mead Gallery (University of Warwick, UK) Katie Paterson, Kettle’s Yard (Cambridge, UK) Inside This Desert, BAWAG Contemporary (Vienna) and 100 Billion Suns at Haunch of Venison (London). Her works have been exhibited in major exhibitions such as the Light Show at the Hayward Gallery (London); Dissident Futures, Yerba Buena Centre for the Arts (San Francisco); Light and Landscape at Storm King Art Centre (Hudson Valley, USA); Marking Time at MCA (Sydney) Continuum at James Cohan Gallery (New York) and Altermodern at Tate Britain (UK). She is represented in collections including the Guggenheim (New York) and Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (Edinburgh). She lives and works in Berlin.

I think, given the portion of text I’ve highlighted, this show could be described as an art/science effort. For those who like to see their visual art, here’s A Planetary Order (Terrestrial Cloud Globe) from Cullinan’s website ‘Cloud’ page,

Martin John Cullinan's A Planetary Order (Terrestrial Cloud Globe)  [downloaded from http://greyisgood.eu/globe/]

Martin John Cullinan’s A Planetary Order (Terrestrial Cloud Globe) [downloaded from http://greyisgood.eu/globe/]

Given the title of Katie Paterson’s piece, As the world turns, I wondered if she was familiar with the US television soap opera of the same name,, but she seems to be from the UK, I don’t think so. In any event, while this image is interesting I suspect the impact of the piece is lost if you can’t hear it (from the Planetary Order exhibition page for Paterson’s piece),

katie paterson: as the world turns, prepared record player, 2011 photo © peter mallet courtesy haunch of venison, london

katie paterson: as the world turns, prepared record player, 2011
photo © peter mallet
courtesy haunch of venison, london

 

Finally, here’s one of the Rebecca Partridge pieces from the Planetary Order exhibition page for Partidges’s piece),

rebecca partridge: notes on the sea: day- part 1, II, oil on board, 70 x 56 cm, 2013

rebecca partridge: notes on the sea: day- part 1, II, oil on board, 70 x 56 cm, 2013

You can find out more about the Christian Ehrentraut Gallery and A Planetary Order here, Martin John Cullinan and his work here,, Katie Paterson and her work here, and Rebecca Partridge and her work here. If you should happen to be in Berlin, I imagine the artists and the gallery owner would be happy to see you either at the opening or at some time from January 10 – February 15, 2013.

This all brought to mind a song written by Leonard Cohen, First We Take Manhattan (then, we take Berlin). Here’s Cohen performing the song in July 2013 in Berlin. You can get a better quality *sound by searching YouTube for other videos but I don’t think anything can top this Berlin crowd’s appreciation and Cohen’s response to it,

This runs a little longer than most of the videos I embed here at approximately 6.5 mins.

* ‘sounding by searching YouTube’ was changed to ‘sound by searching YouTube for other videos’ on Jan. 3, 2014 at 4:41 pm PDT.

Art and nanotechnology at Cornell University’s (US) 2014 Biennial/Biennale

The 2014 Cornell [University located in New York State, US] Council for the Arts (CCA) Biennial, “Intimate Cosmologies: The Aesthetics of Scale in an Age of Nanotechnology” was announced in a Dec. 5, 2013 news item on Nanowerk,

A campuswide exhibition next fall will explore the cultural and human consequences of seeing the world at the micro and macro levels, through nanoscience and networked communications.

From Sept. 15 to Dec. 22, the 2014 Cornell Council for the Arts (CCA) Biennial, “Intimate Cosmologies: The Aesthetics of Scale in an Age of Nanotechnology”, will feature several events and principal projects by faculty and student investigators and guest artists – artist-in-residence kimsooja, Trevor Paglen and Rafael Lozano-Hemmer – working in collaboration with Cornell scientists and researchers.

The Dec.5, 2013 Cornell University news release written by Daniel Aloi, which originated the news item, describes the plans for and events leading to the biennale in Fall 2014,

The inaugural biennial theme was chosen to frame dynamic changes in 21st-century culture and art practice, and in nanoscale technology. The multidisciplinary initiative intends to engage students, faculty and the community in demonstrations of how radical shifts in scale have become commonplace, and how artists address realms of human experience lying beyond immediate sensory perception.

“Participating in the biennial is very exciting. We’re engaging the idea of nano and investigating scale as part of the value of art in performance,” said Beth Milles ’88, associate professor in the Department of Performing and Media Arts, who is collaborating on a project with students and with artist Lynn Tomlinson ’88.

A series of events and curricula this fall and spring are preceding the main Biennial exhibition. Joe Davis and Nathaniel Stern ’99 presented talks this semester, and CCA will bring Paul Thomas, Stephanie Rothenberg, Ana Viseu and others to campus in the coming months.

kimsooja, an acclaimed multimedia artist in performance, video and installation, addresses issues of the displaced self and recently represented Korea in the 55th Venice Biennale. She visited the campus Nov. 22-23 to meet with Uli Weisner and students from his research group, who will work with her to realize her large-scale installation here next fall.

Lozano-Hemmer has worked on both ends of the scale spectrum, from laser-etched poetry on human hairs to an interactive light sculpture over Mexico City, Toronto and Yamaguchi, Japan. Paglen’s researched-based work blurs lines between science, contemporary art, journalism and other disciplines.

The Biennial focus brings together artists and scientists who share a common curiosity regarding the position of the individual within the larger world, CCA Director Stephanie Owens said.

“Scientists are suddenly designers creating new forms,” she said. “And artists are increasingly interested in how things are structured, down to the biological level. Both are designing and discovering new ways of synthesizing natural properties of the material world with the fabricated experiences that extend and express the impact of these properties on our lives.”

Here’s a sample of the work that will be featured at the Biennale,

A prototype image of architecture professor Jenny Sabin's "eSkin" CCA Biennial project, an interactive simulation of a building façade that behaves like a living organism. Credit: Jenny Sabin Courtesy: Cornell University

A prototype image of architecture professor Jenny Sabin’s “eSkin” CCA Biennial project, an interactive simulation of a building façade that behaves like a living organism. Credit: Jenny Sabin Courtesy: Cornell University

Aloi includes a description of some of the exhibits and shows to be featured,

 The principal projects to be presented are:

  • “eSkin” – Architecture professor Jenny Sabin addresses ecology and sustainability issues with buildings that behave like organisms. Her project is an interactive simulation of a façade material incorporating nano- and microscale substrates plated with human cells.
  • “Nano Performance: In 13 Boxes” – Performing and media arts professor Beth Milles ‘88, animator/visual artist Lynn Tomlinson ‘88 and students from different majors will collaborate on 13 media installations and live performances situated across campus. Computer mapping and clues linking the project’s components will assist in “synthesizing the 13 events as a whole experience – it has a lot to do with discovering the performance,” Mills said.
  • “Nano Where: Gas In, Light Out” – Juan Hinestroza, fiber science, and So-Yeon Yoon, design and environmental analysis, will demonstrate the potential of molecular-level metal-organic frameworks as wearable sensors to detect methane and poisonous gases, using a sealed gas chamber and 3-D visual art.
  • “Paperscapes” – Three architecture students – teaching associate Caio Barboza ’13; Joseph Kennedy ’15 and Sonny Xu ’13 – will render the microscopic textures of a sheet of paper as a 3-D inhabitable landscape.
  • “When Art Exceeds Perception” – Ph.D. student in applied physics Robert Hovden will explore replication and plagiarism in nanoscale reproductions, 1,000 times smaller than the naked eye can see, of famous works of art inscribed onto a silicon crystal.

The Cornell Council for the Arts (CCA) has more information about their 2014 ‘nano Biennale’ here. This looks very exciting and I wish I could be there.

One final note, I’ve used the Biennale rather than Biennial as I associate Biennial and the US with the dates of 1776 and 1976 when the country celebrated its 200th anniversary.

Still time to vote in Argonne National Laboratory’s Art for Science contest

Argonne National Laboratory runs an annual contest, Art for Science, where employees and facility users can submit images. I don’t believe there any prizes associated with the contest other than winning the satisfaction of knowing that your image was aesthetically pleasing and an appearance in an Argonne publication and/or in a public display somewhere. This year’s contest according to an Oct. 27, 2013 news item on Nanowerk is still open for voting,

Help Argonne choose the winners of its 2013 Art of Science contest. The annual contest calls for lab employees and users of Argonne’s facilities to submit images and photographs that showcase their research. Some are computer simulations, some are photographs, and some are taken with incredibly powerful transmission electron microscopes that see down to nearly atomic level; all of them show the stunning intersection of beauty and science in Argonne’s world-class labs. Votes will be accepted through Nov. 1, 2013.

This is one of the submissions,

Lead Titanate Domain Terrain The tallest "mountains" in the landscape below are actually only a few nanometers high (about how long your fingernails have grown while reading this). It's made out of lead titanate, which has unique properties and is widely used in sensors and actuators. The image, which has color added, was created using atomic force microscopy. [Argonne National Laboratory]

Lead Titanate Domain Terrain
The tallest “mountains” in the landscape below are actually only a few nanometers high (about how long your fingernails have grown while reading this). It’s made out of lead titanate, which has unique properties and is widely used in sensors and actuators. The image, which has color added, was created using atomic force microscopy. [Argonne National Laboratory]

You can find this image along with many others in the Argonne National Laboratory 2013 Art for Science survey, Winning entries for the 2012 contest were shown in a variety of locations according to Stephanie Yin’s September 11, 2012 article, Finding a palate for the science palette, for Argonne National Laboratory (Note: Links have been removed),

Images from the contest grace the pages of Argonne publications, adorn laboratory buildings and share cutting-edge research with audiences outside the laboratory through traveling exhibits. They have appeared in public-access libraries, including the University of Chicago’s John Crerar Library and the Downers Grove Public Library.

Most recently, 27 Art of Science posters were installed in an exhibit at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago. The O’Hare exhibit, which is now up and will run through early 2013, is located in the hallways connecting Terminals 2 and 3 adjacent to the Rotunda.

Vancouver’s (Canada) Rennie Collection negotiates its first group exhibition

The first ever group show at the Rennie Collection (The Wing Sang Building, 51 East Pender Street, Vancouver, BC V6A 1S9) ends tomorrow,, Oct. 5, 2013. Luckily, there are still a few spots left in the scheduled 1 – 2:30 pm tour (as of Oct. 4, 2013 at 11:30 am PDT).

Le Cannibale (parody, consumption and institutional critique) (2008) Courtesy: Rennie Collection

Le Cannibale (parody, consumption and institutional critique) (2008) Courtesy: Rennie Collection

Coincidentally (or not), Vancouver’s Contemporary Art Gallery is offering an exhibition (Sept. 13 – Nov. 3, 2013) of Mike Nelson’s work, one of the featured artists in the Rennie Collection’s current group show.

Here’s more from the Rennie Collections July (?), 2013 press release,

Rennie Collection is pleased to present an exhibition of works by a selection of internationally renowned artists: Pablo Bronstein, Aaron Curry, Andrew Grassie, Louise Lawler, Mike Nelson, Roman Ondak and Ian Wallace.

While all of these artists have their own distinctly unique styles and practices, the exhibit creates a unifying dialogue surrounding a conceptual questioning of the museum as an entity and ideas regarding space and movement. These works, pertaining to or involving centers of artistic presentation such as museums or galleries, have been dubbed in the canon of art history as “institutional critique”.

In Six Affordable Neo-Georgian Futures for the Metropolitan Museum (2009), Pablo Bronstein (b. 1977) focuses on the architectural side of institutional technique. His interests lie in how architecture has the ability to intervene in personal identity and inform our movements, behaviours and social customs. Using pen and ink on paper and adopting the styles of various architects and movements, his invented monuments become plausible inventions, both paying homage to and critiquing the emblems of civil engineering.

The critical eye of Aaron Curry (b. 1972) may not at first glance be decipherable. The Monad Has Wheels (Wooden Knight) (2010) is one of the slotted-together plywood sculptures for which Curry is well known. Its surfaces, covered in the same wallpaper pattern that also covers the exhibition room walls and thus camouflaged ineffectually against its background, raises questions and meditates formally on preconceived notions of flatness and volume. Curry draws attention to the symbiosis between gallery space and art itself.

There is a rhythm to Andrew Grassie’s (b. 1966) work that plays on the public and private lives of works of art as they exist in a collection. In his series of small paintings entitled New Hang, Grassie challenges the roles of both artist and anthropologist, personally selecting and installing works from the Tate collection to photograph and subsequently paint as his subjects. His technically complex method of working results in an imagery, such as in Tate: New Hang 10 (2004-05), that questions the very essence of the exhibition.

Louise Lawler’s (b. 1947) delicate photographs subtly mediate on the many different lives of an artwork. Whether displayed on a gallery wall such as One Mondrian: At the Art Institute of Chicago (1982) or resting peacefully amongst a cornucopia of items as in Objects (1984), the meaning of each artwork is refreshed and expanded through each different location. Lawler’s unique perspective allows us to share in the secret life of art, altering and enriching the viewer’s experience.

Mike Nelson’s (b. 1967) Le Cannibale (parody, consumption and institutional critique) (2008) is a burial ground of damaged plinths which serve as a reminder of an exhibition long-since past. The plinths are created from destroyed walls comprising of another artwork that Nelson exhibited at the Hayward Gallery, London in 2008. As Nelson states, “When something is physically broken, we do not forget about it. We are reminded of the memories associated with it”. His work speaks to the ultimate temporality and artifice of the gallery or museum space.

Where the viewers detached in Lawler’s work, Slovakian artist Roman Ondák (b. 1966) utilizes the gallery visitor as a key component. Shown for the first time in Canada, Measuring the Universe (2007) is an interactive piece previously exhibited at Tate Liverpool and MoMA, NY. Over the course of the exhibition, attendants mark visitors’ heights, first names, and dates of the measurements on the gallery walls. The mark making becomes the measure of man. By inviting people to actively participate, Ondák creates a work of art from a prosaic everyday behavior while questioning the roles of art objects and spectators, production and reception.

Ian Wallace (b. 1950) works in a space occupied by both painting and photography, highlighting the discourse between the two mediums. Using abstract painting as a grounding for the photographic image, Wallace presents us with an intersection of images and histories that prompt a reconsideration of how viewers view works of art. In the Museum (Peter Halley Series III) (1989) references aesthetic and social issues through the exchange systems of the studio, the museum and the street.

Now for my impressions of the show. Ondák’s piece which is the first one to be encountered seems to function as a map at least as much as it functions as a set of measurements. In some places names are obscured as multiple names have been written over top of one another while others stand out (toddlers don’t have much competition for wall space).

From Ondák’s piece, visitors proceed upstairs to a room dominated by Mike Nelson’s Le Cannibale. Navigating my way through the room where Nelson’s installation is located was at first intriguing and then weirdly oppressive in what seemed an increasingly apocalyptic environment the longer I stood there.

The next installation and piece was a like a visit to another planet. Given the red colour on the walls and on Aaron Curry’s device/sculpture ‘The Monad Has Wheels (Wooden Knight) (2010)’, the other planet is Mars and they’re having a serious rain storm (grey droplets on the red background which covered the walls and the device). Our guide, Jon (?), had completely different take on this installation and so may you.

Ian Wallace has a single piece (a photograph of the space between two paintings on a gallery wall) in a room shared with Andrew Grassie’s work (two small paintings, executed in tempera, of gallery exhibitions). In their own ways, both artists seems be asking the viewer to re-examine the gallery space and asking the questions, ‘How and what do we see?’

I’m sorry to say I don’t have a strong impression of Louise Lawler’s work and I think that’s partly because our guide, Jon, didn’t discuss it on the tour; i”m not sure why. Forgetfulness? Maybe the pieces weren’t fully assembled? (Other than this blip, Jon was probably the most successful guide (of the ones I’ve experience) at engaging the tour audience and that is difficult to do.)

The basement, which usually signals the end of the tour, featured fantasy architectural drawings (Six Affordable Neo-Georgian Futures for the Metropolitan Museum [2009]) by Pablo Bronstein. The artist developed drawings which could provide a base for a new museum. In the fantasy world where I sometimes live, I’m going to pretend the curator chose the basement in an hommage to Gaston Bachelard and his book ‘The Poetics of Space’ where he celebrated and explored the meaning,  in a very French and philosophical way, of various spaces, including basements and attics) within building structures.

If you do get a chance to see the show, I’d be happy to see your comments about it.

One final and unrelated bit: I wrote an article about visual artists and marketing for the September/October 2013 issue of Preview: The Gallery Guide (which covers British Columbia, Alberta, Washington state, and Oregon). I concentrated mostly on promotion and pricing.

Cutting, baking, lasering and more to turn books into objets d’art

Hugh Hart’s Aug. 5, 2013 article for Fast Company takes a more buoyant approach than I do to a practice where books are used as the raw material for creating art objects (Note: Links have been removed),

They stalk books with X-Acto knives, tiny sandblasters, glue, paint, scissor, and a shared obsession for giving new form to old things. The resulting sculptures, as pictured in the upcoming Art Made From Books: Altered, Sculpted, Carved and Transformed (Chronicle Books), extend the shelf life for phone books, encyclopedias, pulp fiction and fairy tales. Instead of winding up in the landfill, ink-on-paper artifacts can now be rejiggered as astonishing text objects that have nothing to do with words.

The book, Art Made from Books: Altered, Sculpted, Carved, Transformed by Laura Heyenga, Brian Dettmer, and Alyson Kuhn, due to be published Aug. 20, 2013, features artworks such as this one on the book’s cover,

Cover for Art Made from Books: Altered, Sculpted, Carved, Transformed

Cover for Art Made from Books: Altered, Sculpted, Carved, Transformed

There is a positive aspect to this art practice, from Hart’s article,

Art Made From Books, edited by Laura Heyenga, demonstrates how obsolete books can now serve sculptors as a 21st-century equivalent to marble or molding clay. Kuhn points out that, “The information is outdated, the paper is probably yellowed or worse, so the fact that a book can become something charming and creative and valuable in a new light is kind of great.”

Although I do wonder how the authors and contributors would feel about having their book turned into an art piece.

While Kuhn is suggesting that this represents a way to recycle materials that were headed to the landfill,  Jacqueline Rush Lee (one of the artists featured in the book) seems to be using books that feature their own art work and could still function as reading material,

I cringed when I saw her painting over that illustration although I do very much appreciate her pieces. Still, what did she destroy to make them? She’s not adding to the narrative as she suggests, she’s remaking a book into an art piece by destroying it and imposing her own narrative (such as it is) on what remains.Meanwhile, fewer and fewer paper books are being produced. The medium she and these artists are using for their work is disappearing or becoming more rare.

Stained glass cathedral window solar panels being hooked up to Saskatoon’s (Canada) power grid

The Cathedral of the Holy Family in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan (Canada) is about to have its art glass windows (“Lux Gloria”) complete with solar panels hooked up to the Saskatoon Light & Power’s distribution network. It’s not often one sees beauty and utility combined. You can see the stained glass windows as they appear, from outside the cathedral, on this book cover for “A Beacon of Welcome” A Glimpse Inside the Cathedral of the Holy Family,

“A Beacon of Welcome” A Glimpse Inside the Cathedral of the Holy Family book cover [downloaded from http://holyfamilycathedral.ca/holyfamily-parish-life/59-gala-week-books]

“A Beacon of Welcome” A Glimpse Inside the Cathedral of the Holy Family [book cover downloaded from http://holyfamilycathedral.ca/holyfamily-parish-life/59-gala-week-books]

Emily Chung’s July 29, 2013 news item for CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) online describes the project at more length,

“Lux Gloria” by Sarah Hall, at the Cathedral of the Holy Family in Saskatoon, is currently being connected to Saskatoon Light & Power’s electrical distribution network, confirmed Jim Nakoneshny, facilities manager at the cathedral.

The artwork, which consists of solar panels embedded in brightly coloured, hand-painted art glass, had just been reinstalled and upgraded after breaking and falling into the church last year.

According to Kevin Hudson, manager of metering and sustainable electricity for Saskatoon Light & Power, the solar panels are expected to produce about 2,500 kilowatt hours annually or about a third to a quarter of the 8,000 to 10,000 kilowatt hours consumed by a typical home in Saskatoon each year.

In fact, the installation will become Saskatchewan’s first building-integrated photovoltaic system (BIPV), where solar panels are embedded directly into walls, windows or other parts of a building’s main structure. It’s a trend that is expected to grow in the future as the traditional practice of mounting solar panels on rooftops isn’t practical for many city buildings, including some churches.

Chung’s article features some specific technical information about the solar art windows supplied by artist Sarah Hall,

In the case of the Cathedral of the Holy Family, each solar panel was a different size and was trapezoidal in shape, Hall said. As a result, “all the solar work had to be hand soldered.”

Because the solar cells aren’t transparent, Hall adds a high-tech “dichroic” glass to the back of the cells in some cases to make them colourful and reflective.

You can find more  images of Hall’s work on her website. Unfortunately, Hall does not provide much detail about the technical aspects of her work.

The Cathedral of the Holy Family features a book about their stained glass windows,

“Transfiguring Prairie Skies”  Stained Glass at Cathedral of the Holy Family [book cover downloaded from http://holyfamilycathedral.ca/holyfamily-parish-life/59-gala-week-books]

“Transfiguring Prairie Skies” Stained Glass at Cathedral of the Holy Family [book cover downloaded from http://holyfamilycathedral.ca/holyfamily-parish-life/59-gala-week-books]

Here’s more information about the book,

“Transfiguring Prairie Skies”  Stained Glass at Cathedral of the Holy Family  written by Bishop Donald Bolen and Sarah Hall, photography by Grant Kernan and Sarah Hall.  A 116 page hard cover book which includes incredibly detailed close-up shots of our stained glass windows, complete with poetic and theological reflections for each window.

Cost is $25.00

You can visit the Cathedral of the Holy Family website here.