Author Archive

Science and Art collide in the REALSPACE exhibition at Art Center’s Williamson Gallery

Thursday, September 25th, 2014
Dan Goods andDavid Delgado Refraction, 2014 Theater light, water, custom electronics 19 x 25 ft., dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artists.

Dan Goods and David Delgado; Refraction, 2014; Theater light, water, custom electronics; Courtesy of the artists.

The painter Willem de Kooning once said that the idea of space “is given to the artist to change if he can.” And of the real, Robert Rauschenberg opined that a painting “is more like the real world if it’s made out of the real world.” Space in painting is measured on a scale that begins with deep illusion depicting what appears beyond the window of the canvas, and moves successively forward to tangible real tactility in front of the canvas.

Where an artist chooses to work on that illusion-to-reality scale can have meaning in and of itself. And the modern history of those choices can be viewed as a kind of archeology of existential change. The exhibition REALSPACE, opening October 4 at Art Center College of Design’s Williamson Gallery, is meant to reflect on how science intersects with that history. Poeticized by artists and studied by scientists throughout human history, the intractable reality of the natural world is examined by contemporary art and artifacts included in REALSPACE.

REALSPACE will be installed in the Williamson Gallery October 4, 2014 through January 18, 2015. The public is invited to an opening reception on Friday, October 3, from 7 to 10pm. Artists in the exhibition include Adam W. Brown and Robert Root-Bernstein, James Griffith, Dan Goods, David Delgado, Santiago Lombeyda, Rebeca Méndez and Jennifer Steinkamp. Artifacts and writings by James Ferguson (1710-1776), William Herschel (1738-1822), and Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727), on loan from The Huntington Library, are also featured in the exhibition that combines works from contemporary art and science.  At its opening, the exhibition will be accompanied by a 20-page free booklet and, eventually, a 40-page catalog.

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Robert Lang’s new FOLDED show exposes origami’s roots in design, contradiction and conflict

Wednesday, June 18th, 2014

Origami seems an odd and roundabout way to arrive at the realistic likeness of a scorpion. Clay would be faster, more direct, less convoluted. And yet there’s an edgy charm to it—the calculated, maybe obsessive, brain teasingly affectionate practice of folding paper. It is, in essence, design. Good design.

It’s an old process. After paper was invented in about the 2nd century CE, it took another 400 years to migrate from China to Japan, and a few centuries more to infiltrate Europe. Folding followed along, creased and sharp, and largely ignored as a serious art until the middle of the last century when poverty-stricken factory-worker dropout Akira Yoshizawa changed everything. His experimentation risked tradition, and his introduction of a wet-folding technique expanded origami’s visual vocabulary, inviting greater artistic expression.

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Form follows fungus at the Williamson Gallery’s Intimate Science exhibit

Monday, July 8th, 2013
Philip Ross’s "Mycotecture" series, part of the Williamson Gallery's "Intimate Science" exhibition.

Philip Ross’s “Mycotecture” series, part of the Williamson Gallery’s “Intimate Science” exhibition.

Bricks. You know, those hard rectangular cubes made of heavy solid stuff like cement, stone, concrete, rock . . . and fungus. Yes, fungus. Clean, lightweight, extremely durable, sustainable, (dead) fungus. There’s a sculpture made of those fungal bricks shaped into a half-arc tunnel – not to mention two fungus-grown chairs –  on display in the Williamson Gallery’s current exhibitionIntimate Science (through August 18).

Known for its curatorial connections to the burgeoning ArtScience movement, the Williamson Gallery’s recent projects have extended this theme to include artists who are productively reckless when considering the boundaries between traditional domains. Stitching together performance, installation art, design, citizen science, and maker-ingenuity into a complex fabric of artistic practice, ArtScience artists are challenging older single-channel paradigms.

Originally organized by curator Andrea Grover for Carnegie Mellon University’s Miller Gallery and now on a national tour, Intimate Science includes a compelling assemblage of crossover objects and intentions. The exhibition’s stop at the hillside campus has brought works by artists from London, Seattle, San Francisco, Pittsburgh, and Tokyo to join hometown L.A. participant Machine Project in provoking students, faculty, staff and a stream of inquisitive visitors.

Two recent workshops organized by Machine Project transformed a section of the gallery into an interactive learning lab for unconventional artistic palettes. Attendees examined processes that might inform future hybrid projects by harnessing the behavior of sound vibrations and twisting auditory perceptions, and interfacing with the dynamics of electricity and the natural flow of current in the human body.

At the exhibition’s opening reception on May 30, scientists from Caltech and Jet Propulsion Lab mixed with artists, designers, writers, students, faculty, and the generally curious. Carnegie Mellon’s Astria Suparak remarked on bringing the exhibition to Art Center’s gallery: “We were thrilled to open Intimate Science at the Williamson Gallery — to have the opportunity to bring the gallery’s work to Los Angeles, to be seen by a wider audience and have a larger impact.”