For the eighth year in a row, the office of Academic Advising and Planning is celebrating the newest installment of “Art Matters” on the second floor of the Lightsey Center. This year, students from all departments submitted their art on the theme “Transcending the Ordinary: Exploring the Mysteries of Nature.”
All 32 sculptures, paintings, drawings and etchings in the collection were inspired by plants, animals, rocks and other features of the natural world.
Six artists in particular contributed to a special section of the exhibit called Art + Science.
“We pair them with science and math professors, and they put their research into a physical art form,” said Ryan Boyd, Office Manager for Academic Advising and Planning.
“It’s neat for the professors to see their life’s work and then it’s put into art, I think a lot of people don’t necessarily connect the two, but they are very very connected.”
Art Matters isn’t just for art students, artists from all departments are welcome to submit their work, as long as it fits the theme.
“Most people aren’t art majors that have submitted things to art matters, they are biology, computer science, all different types of majors,” said Boyd, “they like to do art as a hobby.”
Katie Faust, one of the contributing artists, is double majoring in art and geology. “People are always asking me, ‘What are you going to do with that?’ so when I saw this thing that was art and science collaboration, I thought that sounded great,” she said.
Faust was paired with biologist Dr. Pritchard, “he studies fine roots and their mycorrhizae which is like fungus that grows on them which actually helps them a lot, and how that interacts with the carbon cycle,” she said.
“I made tree roots that resembled lungs to emphasize the relationship between these little guys and the atmosphere that we change.”
Neha Muppala, another contributor to Art + Science, worked with Professor van Delden, who is working to develop user-friendly robotic interfaces.
Her sculpture is a silver robotic arm, covered in wires and holding a flower. “I wanted it to be 3D, but no way could I build a robot, because I’m not a computer science major or anything. I figured I’d make a sculpture.”
This year’s exhibit is the first to include a sculpture garden, featuring art from students in a first year experience sculpture class.
One piece featured in the garden was titled “Overbearing Love,” and used imagery from nature to communicate ideas about bigger issues.
“It’s supposed to symbolize the patriarchy, and kind of men in general,” said artist Felice Reid. “She’s a flower and she’s trying to bloom, but she can’t because flowers cant bloom in a bed of rocks.”
“I wanted a piece that spoke to people more and brought light to women’s suffering. I think that’s an important cause we should be drawn to, helping women feel more comfortable in this life.”
Anyone wishing to tour the exhibition can do so through yet another marriage of science and art. The department put the exhibit on the app Guidebook, “you can find art matters in it and you can go through and see the professor’s research as you’re looking at the art,” said Boyd.
In addition to the exhibit, artists and professors who participated in Art + Science will speak at a symposium on Feb. 26 about the art and the research behind it.
All art from the exhibit will be on display in the Lightsey Center, suite 247 for the rest of the year.