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Q&A With Geoffrey Harrison: An Interview with the Art and Science Journal

Geoffrey Harrison is a painter specializing in figuration and anatomy that has recently discussed his residencies in London with us. Check out the video above (password is geoff) and the interview below to see what he has to share:

Lea Hamilton: Could you elaborate on your experience at your residency(ies?) What was it like to work with those specimens? Did you feel the environment influenced your body of work in the creative process itself as well as the content?

Geoffrey Harrison: I had been going into the Pathology Museum at St Bart’s for a while to look at the specimens and draw. I’d been working with anatomical images since I had a show at the Art Workers’ Guild in 2010 which was called ‘in the midst of life’. It was a series of paintings of dead animals. It sounds pretty grim, but was actually all about beauty and life. In some of the paintings it wasn’t clear whether the animal was alive or dead, while in others, it was pretty clear. I think these more explicitly visceral images led me towards the work I produced for the Bloomsbury Festival in 2011, which was an installation of very large drawings of ‘intestinal’ loops. I happened to be introduced to some people from the museum a huge nineteenth century, three story high, purpose built hall with galleried walkways on two upper levels. Somehow it is hidden away up a shabby staircase in a corner of the hospital. The shelves are crammed with specimens and the atmosphere is fairly unique but I was quite familiar by then with human specimens as both my parents had been Medical Illustrators, so I felt quite at home. It was a nice place to draw and the environment retained a Victorian atmosphere, which may have influenced me.

The more I discovered about the specimens however - the human aspect; the who and why and where and so on, the less I was at ease. I was pleased about that though. I didn’t want to get blasé about seeing such challenging things and really felt that it was important to still have an emotional response to the specimens. Much of the forensic collection have particularly sad and violent backstories, which brought a lot of that emotional content. I think that has carried through to the work I am doing now, which although not entirely focused on gross anatomy and specimens.

Working in both institutions has been really interesting experience. At the Museum, it was mainly a place for me to go and sketch and draw inspiration from. It was about the space and the contents. I ended up producing a series of work which I showed there and which has since been shown in a few other places and is due to travel overseas this year. The experience at the RVC has been more immersive and about the people and processes in the college as well as the objects that tend to attract my attention. In addition to producing artwork, I am involved in funding applications, public engagement and art teaching.

LH: How long has the concept of autopoiesis influenced your work?

GH: I started working with this concept perhaps before I realised it. I had long been in the habit of reducing the images I worked with to singular entities, which I eventually described as islands or archipelagos. In this way I was approaching this idea of margins and boundaries around things. I became a bit preoccupied with this idea of where one things ends and another begins and started to think about body parts and processes in this way. I think the work on islands really led to this because even though visually the things I was painting, animals, chairs, they were all surrogates for the human body, and by extension, the individual as a separate entity, self sufficient and isolated.

Of course, we are an interdependent species. We may kid ourselves that we are self-sufficient, and independent but like the hermit crabs I studied, we are actually totally dependent on a community and a bunch of other creatures. I have a compulsion to delineate and isolate, while at the same time recognising that the world doesn’t really work like that. Things are intricately linked and don’t necessarily end in crisp lines. Margins are blurred and diffuse as the seashore where the water percolates through the sand. You can’t really separate the two if you look closely enough. I recognise this and yet I am still drawn to delineate and classify. Is this cognitive dissonance?

Anyway, I wanted to somehow illustrate this paradox and create images of things that appear feasible as whole enclosed systems, but that aren’t possible. While doing some drawings of intestinal looking organs that were complete loops, like Mobius strips I was looking at M. C. Escher and I came across a book called ‘I am a Strange Loop’ by Douglas Hofstadter. His work led me to the concept of Autopoiesis, which I thought was an ideal description for my work and liked that it was relevant to mathematics and biology as well as philosophy and sociology.

LH: Both of your residencies (at Bart’s Pathology Museum and The Royal Veterinary College) are sort of hidden and tucked away. Given your interest in isolation, is that partly what drew you towards these residencies, or was it more based on past experience with anatomy and medical illustration?

GH: I’m not sure that I consciously made an effort to find places to work that were hidden away, but perhaps that made more more interested in them. I think I was fortunate enough to be introduced to these places as a result of similar work before, which yea, is probably all down to the Medical Illustration thing. It seems to be one continuum. Perhaps it will all loop back to the beginning at the end.

LH: How do you personally view the anatomical collections that you work with? Do they lean more toward being curiosities, or do they present themselves as preserved, perpetual objects?

GH: That’s a really interesting question. The nature of the ‘curious’ must depend on the viewer. I don’t see the specimens themselves as curious. Interesting and fantastic in some cases, yes, but I’d think I was being lazy if I stopped at curious, like I was simply noting an odd shaped vegetable. Some of the medical and veterinary specimens that I spend my time with are still relevant in a practical educational sense, while others are pretty much redundant in the face of trends of disease or medical progress. For some people, however, preserved specimens of unusual afflictions are gonna have a kind of ‘fairground sideshow’ quality and will remain curiosities, but if that inspires people to look beyond the bizarre and freakish and contemplate the ‘science’, that’s great.

Pickling and even plastination fundamentally change the nature of the specimen, so they aren’t really preserved verbatim. They are altered and won’t last forever anyway.

LH: I find it interesting that you have such great interest in self-sustaining objects, but the actual anatomical specimens that you study need to be carefully preserved and sustained by others. Is this boundary between sustaining and preserving blurred or disrupted by your interaction with the objects and subsequent created artworks? Do they become ‘fresh’ again, or is the boundary even relevant?

GH: Perhaps I am casting a fresh eye on the subject, which might give someone an alternative perspective, but I also think that while the specimens stay immutable (and this is not always the case) a med student, for example, may look at it one day and see one thing and the next something completely different according to the page they are on in their textbook. There are many ways to refresh a perspective. I think this boundary is totally relevant. That’s an intriguing boundary there. The point at which the world changes when we understand something about it. Secrets divulged, innocence lost. Hmmm.

I’m not sure this answers the question but I got intrigued by the idea of ‘fresh again’ when I was studying cane toads that had been squashed by traffic on an island where I used to live. The flattened corpses used to desiccate in the heat, but whenever it would rain, the amphibian hydrophilic skin would rehydrate and they’d become fresh again. In the end though, they’d disintegrate to nothing. The objects in the jar are in a very gradual state of deterioration. I think the fact that they continually need maintenance and care belies their ultimate impermanence. Someone will forget to top them up, they’ll spring a leak or get dropped. They are only going one way. Mind you, there is a pretty healthy looking specimen in the Barts’ collection that dates from the 1700s, so the journey to dust is longer for some than others…

- Lea Hamilton

(Source: artandsciencejournal.com)

art and science journalinterviewLea HamiltonGeoffrey Harrisonresidencieslondonanatomypainting
Globalizing the Tag
 You couldn’t necessarily call him a cyborg, or a magician, but artist Alex Kiessling has managed to use robotic arms to create artworks in three separate cities simultaneously. The project, called Long Distance Art, incorporates satellite feeds and industrial robots, acting as an extension of the artist’s hand around the globe. While Kiessling himself was drawing and painting in Vienna, the robots physically mimicked him in London and Berlin.
The piece itself sets up an interesting dialogue between street artists and telepresence. By introducing communications technology into his art practice, Kiessling has raised the bar of the mobility of street art, altering the context of graffiti to that of a global scale. He is also broadcasting and globalizing his own personal ‘tag’, or his identity as a street artist. The robots have allowed him to transcend the confines of space and location, making living in the city whose streets are the canvas unnecessary. As robots and technology become more available and affordable, it becomes easier for an artist to replicate this identity through their artwork. Kiessling’s project also marks an historic moment for graffiti itself by being able to extend the sociopolitical power of graffiti into separate cultural contexts. 
To view a video of the project in action, click here.
- Lea Hamilton
Globalizing the Tag
 You couldn’t necessarily call him a cyborg, or a magician, but artist Alex Kiessling has managed to use robotic arms to create artworks in three separate cities simultaneously. The project, called Long Distance Art, incorporates satellite feeds and industrial robots, acting as an extension of the artist’s hand around the globe. While Kiessling himself was drawing and painting in Vienna, the robots physically mimicked him in London and Berlin.
The piece itself sets up an interesting dialogue between street artists and telepresence. By introducing communications technology into his art practice, Kiessling has raised the bar of the mobility of street art, altering the context of graffiti to that of a global scale. He is also broadcasting and globalizing his own personal ‘tag’, or his identity as a street artist. The robots have allowed him to transcend the confines of space and location, making living in the city whose streets are the canvas unnecessary. As robots and technology become more available and affordable, it becomes easier for an artist to replicate this identity through their artwork. Kiessling’s project also marks an historic moment for graffiti itself by being able to extend the sociopolitical power of graffiti into separate cultural contexts. 
To view a video of the project in action, click here.
- Lea Hamilton
Globalizing the Tag
 You couldn’t necessarily call him a cyborg, or a magician, but artist Alex Kiessling has managed to use robotic arms to create artworks in three separate cities simultaneously. The project, called Long Distance Art, incorporates satellite feeds and industrial robots, acting as an extension of the artist’s hand around the globe. While Kiessling himself was drawing and painting in Vienna, the robots physically mimicked him in London and Berlin.
The piece itself sets up an interesting dialogue between street artists and telepresence. By introducing communications technology into his art practice, Kiessling has raised the bar of the mobility of street art, altering the context of graffiti to that of a global scale. He is also broadcasting and globalizing his own personal ‘tag’, or his identity as a street artist. The robots have allowed him to transcend the confines of space and location, making living in the city whose streets are the canvas unnecessary. As robots and technology become more available and affordable, it becomes easier for an artist to replicate this identity through their artwork. Kiessling’s project also marks an historic moment for graffiti itself by being able to extend the sociopolitical power of graffiti into separate cultural contexts. 
To view a video of the project in action, click here.
- Lea Hamilton

Globalizing the Tag

 You couldn’t necessarily call him a cyborg, or a magician, but artist Alex Kiessling has managed to use robotic arms to create artworks in three separate cities simultaneously. The project, called Long Distance Art, incorporates satellite feeds and industrial robots, acting as an extension of the artist’s hand around the globe. While Kiessling himself was drawing and painting in Vienna, the robots physically mimicked him in London and Berlin.

The piece itself sets up an interesting dialogue between street artists and telepresence. By introducing communications technology into his art practice, Kiessling has raised the bar of the mobility of street art, altering the context of graffiti to that of a global scale. He is also broadcasting and globalizing his own personal ‘tag’, or his identity as a street artist. The robots have allowed him to transcend the confines of space and location, making living in the city whose streets are the canvas unnecessary. As robots and technology become more available and affordable, it becomes easier for an artist to replicate this identity through their artwork. Kiessling’s project also marks an historic moment for graffiti itself by being able to extend the sociopolitical power of graffiti into separate cultural contexts. 

To view a video of the project in action, click here.

- Lea Hamilton

(Source: artandsciencejournal.com)

3 Photos
/ Alex Kiessling robots art science global drawing painting London Vienna Berlin technology street art graffiti network
Jerry’s Map: Building a World
Every artwork begins with an idea that interests the artist enough to compel them to create something from it. From the initial mark made at the beginning, the artist is creating in response to an idea that expands and changes as the work develops. Jerry Gretzinger has acted upon this notion of responding to an idea in the map that he has created, and continued to create for 50 years.
Jerry’s Map has ‘evolved’ over the years, growing out of a systemic, intricate process that Jerry has created himself. Jerry uses a deck of playing cards, which he dubs the ‘future predictor’, that gives him a set of instructions on what parts of the map he will work on that day. Depending on the instruction, Jerry can build different sections of the world he has created: add new institutions to a city or town, paint some new farmland, scan and archive original pieces and work on the next generation of each map card. Each change is recorded in his computer spreadsheet that contains the population of each town he had created. By using a deck of playing cards, Jerry allows for chance to play a major role in his world-building, and it keeps the map stimulating for him to work on.

Another element of chance that he allows to seep in is his ‘new void’ card, which dictates that Jerry wipe out a section of the map with a splotch of white. As the void expands, the map gets eaten up by the whiteness and replaced with the grey worlds that appear within the void. This idea of destroying and creating anew puts Jerry in a dual position of creator and observer, something that he remarks as being fascinating. The map has obviously taken on a life of its own, and has expanded to being more than 2500 pieces of 8x10 inch card. Having a few prints of the map and one original piece in my possession, I can affirm that they are intricately thought out, beautiful small treasures that show one artist’s dedication to an idea.
If you would like to see Gregory Whitmore’s short film about Jerry and his map (highly recommended), click here.
Jerry is also collaborating with other artists to make more map pieces. To check that out,  or if you’re interested in buying a print, check out Jerry’s website here.
-Lea Hamilton
Jerry’s Map: Building a World
Every artwork begins with an idea that interests the artist enough to compel them to create something from it. From the initial mark made at the beginning, the artist is creating in response to an idea that expands and changes as the work develops. Jerry Gretzinger has acted upon this notion of responding to an idea in the map that he has created, and continued to create for 50 years.
Jerry’s Map has ‘evolved’ over the years, growing out of a systemic, intricate process that Jerry has created himself. Jerry uses a deck of playing cards, which he dubs the ‘future predictor’, that gives him a set of instructions on what parts of the map he will work on that day. Depending on the instruction, Jerry can build different sections of the world he has created: add new institutions to a city or town, paint some new farmland, scan and archive original pieces and work on the next generation of each map card. Each change is recorded in his computer spreadsheet that contains the population of each town he had created. By using a deck of playing cards, Jerry allows for chance to play a major role in his world-building, and it keeps the map stimulating for him to work on.

Another element of chance that he allows to seep in is his ‘new void’ card, which dictates that Jerry wipe out a section of the map with a splotch of white. As the void expands, the map gets eaten up by the whiteness and replaced with the grey worlds that appear within the void. This idea of destroying and creating anew puts Jerry in a dual position of creator and observer, something that he remarks as being fascinating. The map has obviously taken on a life of its own, and has expanded to being more than 2500 pieces of 8x10 inch card. Having a few prints of the map and one original piece in my possession, I can affirm that they are intricately thought out, beautiful small treasures that show one artist’s dedication to an idea.
If you would like to see Gregory Whitmore’s short film about Jerry and his map (highly recommended), click here.
Jerry is also collaborating with other artists to make more map pieces. To check that out,  or if you’re interested in buying a print, check out Jerry’s website here.
-Lea Hamilton
Jerry’s Map: Building a World
Every artwork begins with an idea that interests the artist enough to compel them to create something from it. From the initial mark made at the beginning, the artist is creating in response to an idea that expands and changes as the work develops. Jerry Gretzinger has acted upon this notion of responding to an idea in the map that he has created, and continued to create for 50 years.
Jerry’s Map has ‘evolved’ over the years, growing out of a systemic, intricate process that Jerry has created himself. Jerry uses a deck of playing cards, which he dubs the ‘future predictor’, that gives him a set of instructions on what parts of the map he will work on that day. Depending on the instruction, Jerry can build different sections of the world he has created: add new institutions to a city or town, paint some new farmland, scan and archive original pieces and work on the next generation of each map card. Each change is recorded in his computer spreadsheet that contains the population of each town he had created. By using a deck of playing cards, Jerry allows for chance to play a major role in his world-building, and it keeps the map stimulating for him to work on.

Another element of chance that he allows to seep in is his ‘new void’ card, which dictates that Jerry wipe out a section of the map with a splotch of white. As the void expands, the map gets eaten up by the whiteness and replaced with the grey worlds that appear within the void. This idea of destroying and creating anew puts Jerry in a dual position of creator and observer, something that he remarks as being fascinating. The map has obviously taken on a life of its own, and has expanded to being more than 2500 pieces of 8x10 inch card. Having a few prints of the map and one original piece in my possession, I can affirm that they are intricately thought out, beautiful small treasures that show one artist’s dedication to an idea.
If you would like to see Gregory Whitmore’s short film about Jerry and his map (highly recommended), click here.
Jerry is also collaborating with other artists to make more map pieces. To check that out,  or if you’re interested in buying a print, check out Jerry’s website here.
-Lea Hamilton
Jerry’s Map: Building a World
Every artwork begins with an idea that interests the artist enough to compel them to create something from it. From the initial mark made at the beginning, the artist is creating in response to an idea that expands and changes as the work develops. Jerry Gretzinger has acted upon this notion of responding to an idea in the map that he has created, and continued to create for 50 years.
Jerry’s Map has ‘evolved’ over the years, growing out of a systemic, intricate process that Jerry has created himself. Jerry uses a deck of playing cards, which he dubs the ‘future predictor’, that gives him a set of instructions on what parts of the map he will work on that day. Depending on the instruction, Jerry can build different sections of the world he has created: add new institutions to a city or town, paint some new farmland, scan and archive original pieces and work on the next generation of each map card. Each change is recorded in his computer spreadsheet that contains the population of each town he had created. By using a deck of playing cards, Jerry allows for chance to play a major role in his world-building, and it keeps the map stimulating for him to work on.

Another element of chance that he allows to seep in is his ‘new void’ card, which dictates that Jerry wipe out a section of the map with a splotch of white. As the void expands, the map gets eaten up by the whiteness and replaced with the grey worlds that appear within the void. This idea of destroying and creating anew puts Jerry in a dual position of creator and observer, something that he remarks as being fascinating. The map has obviously taken on a life of its own, and has expanded to being more than 2500 pieces of 8x10 inch card. Having a few prints of the map and one original piece in my possession, I can affirm that they are intricately thought out, beautiful small treasures that show one artist’s dedication to an idea.
If you would like to see Gregory Whitmore’s short film about Jerry and his map (highly recommended), click here.
Jerry is also collaborating with other artists to make more map pieces. To check that out,  or if you’re interested in buying a print, check out Jerry’s website here.
-Lea Hamilton

Jerry’s Map: Building a World

Every artwork begins with an idea that interests the artist enough to compel them to create something from it. From the initial mark made at the beginning, the artist is creating in response to an idea that expands and changes as the work develops. Jerry Gretzinger has acted upon this notion of responding to an idea in the map that he has created, and continued to create for 50 years.

Jerry’s Map has ‘evolved’ over the years, growing out of a systemic, intricate process that Jerry has created himself. Jerry uses a deck of playing cards, which he dubs the ‘future predictor’, that gives him a set of instructions on what parts of the map he will work on that day. Depending on the instruction, Jerry can build different sections of the world he has created: add new institutions to a city or town, paint some new farmland, scan and archive original pieces and work on the next generation of each map card. Each change is recorded in his computer spreadsheet that contains the population of each town he had created. By using a deck of playing cards, Jerry allows for chance to play a major role in his world-building, and it keeps the map stimulating for him to work on.

image

Another element of chance that he allows to seep in is his ‘new void’ card, which dictates that Jerry wipe out a section of the map with a splotch of white. As the void expands, the map gets eaten up by the whiteness and replaced with the grey worlds that appear within the void. This idea of destroying and creating anew puts Jerry in a dual position of creator and observer, something that he remarks as being fascinating. The map has obviously taken on a life of its own, and has expanded to being more than 2500 pieces of 8x10 inch card. Having a few prints of the map and one original piece in my possession, I can affirm that they are intricately thought out, beautiful small treasures that show one artist’s dedication to an idea.

If you would like to see Gregory Whitmore’s short film about Jerry and his map (highly recommended), click here.

Jerry is also collaborating with other artists to make more map pieces. To check that out,  or if you’re interested in buying a print, check out Jerry’s website here.

-Lea Hamilton

(Source: artandsciencejournal.com)

4 Photos
/ map art cartography world building Jerry Gretzinger Lea Hamilton drawing painting mapping inspiring nature art and science journal
SHIFT | The Ottawa School of Art | Grad Show 2013
SHIFT is a Grad Show currently on exhibit at the Ottawa School of Art, until the 25th of July, 2013. It features the works of graduates Melissa Blackman, Virginia Dupuis, Kimberly Edgar, Jane Ladan, Kathleen McCrea and Jenn Noseworthy, and what’s great about it is that all their unique works come together flawlessly, to create a cornucopia of natural whimsy.
Whether it’s Jenn Noseworthy’s floating bee’s, Jane Ladan’s coral reef-like sculptural neck-pieces or Melissa Blackman’s psychedelic paintings, walking into the exhibition space feels like walking into an ethereal space, as if from a fairy tale.
You almost expect a few fairies or garden gnomes to pop up once in awhile.
The hanging bee’s are much larger than normal bees, and even though they are hanging in a swarm formation, they are more of a welcome party than a threat, placed just outside the gallery space. The sculptural neck-pieces on the other hand, look like regalia on display.
The paintings, prints and images on the walls set the ambiance and backdrop to this magical experience.
- Anna Paluch

SHIFT | The Ottawa School of Art | Grad Show 2013

SHIFT is a Grad Show currently on exhibit at the Ottawa School of Art, until the 25th of July, 2013. It features the works of graduates Melissa Blackman, Virginia Dupuis, Kimberly Edgar, Jane Ladan, Kathleen McCrea and Jenn Noseworthy, and what’s great about it is that all their unique works come together flawlessly, to create a cornucopia of natural whimsy.

Whether it’s Jenn Noseworthy’s floating bee’s, Jane Ladan’s coral reef-like sculptural neck-pieces or Melissa Blackman’s psychedelic paintings, walking into the exhibition space feels like walking into an ethereal space, as if from a fairy tale.

You almost expect a few fairies or garden gnomes to pop up once in awhile.

The hanging bee’s are much larger than normal bees, and even though they are hanging in a swarm formation, they are more of a welcome party than a threat, placed just outside the gallery space. The sculptural neck-pieces on the other hand, look like regalia on display.

The paintings, prints and images on the walls set the ambiance and backdrop to this magical experience.

Anna Paluch

(Source: artandsciencejournal.com)

shift ottawa school of art jane ladan jenn noseworthy melissa blackman virginia dupuis kimberly edgar kathleen mccrea nature coral bees painting printing flies art science art and science journal anna paluch

Mythologies and Meanings: Masako Miki
Artists have often attributed qualities of the surreal “other” to the animal world. Our animal counterparts are seen by many as being devoid of cultural instincts that restrict and normalize behaviour. They are thus able to act out the lascivious instincts humans work to eradicate and symbolize myths of collisions between natural and human worlds. 
Drawing from this playbook of animal subjects and myth, California based artist Masako Miki establishes dreamlike identity narratives while toying with the psychology behind animal motifs in fine art. Her animal subjects become symbols through which our fantasies, desires, and vulnerabilities may be realized. Like Surrealist artists before her, Miki’s interest in exploring the dreamy and symbolic nature of animal life permits new mythologies in the dynamic relations between animals and humans to emerge. 
Moreover, through a very simple aesthetic, the animal motifs Miki explores in her delicate paintings - a combination of a variety of mixed media, including rainbow-hued embroidery thread, gouache, ink, and wool - receive a quirky and contemporary upgrade. No longer resembling grandiose historical nature paintings or cheesy, kitschy, oil-on-panel paintings found in your grandparents’ attic, Miki’s mediations on identity, folklore, and animalistic roles are visually simplified and accessible, resembling the visual quality of a peculiar and conversational painting found in the living room of a student apartment. 
Masako Miki is represented by the Swarm Gallery in Oakland, CA. 
- Victoria Nolte

Mythologies and Meanings: Masako Miki
Artists have often attributed qualities of the surreal “other” to the animal world. Our animal counterparts are seen by many as being devoid of cultural instincts that restrict and normalize behaviour. They are thus able to act out the lascivious instincts humans work to eradicate and symbolize myths of collisions between natural and human worlds. 
Drawing from this playbook of animal subjects and myth, California based artist Masako Miki establishes dreamlike identity narratives while toying with the psychology behind animal motifs in fine art. Her animal subjects become symbols through which our fantasies, desires, and vulnerabilities may be realized. Like Surrealist artists before her, Miki’s interest in exploring the dreamy and symbolic nature of animal life permits new mythologies in the dynamic relations between animals and humans to emerge. 
Moreover, through a very simple aesthetic, the animal motifs Miki explores in her delicate paintings - a combination of a variety of mixed media, including rainbow-hued embroidery thread, gouache, ink, and wool - receive a quirky and contemporary upgrade. No longer resembling grandiose historical nature paintings or cheesy, kitschy, oil-on-panel paintings found in your grandparents’ attic, Miki’s mediations on identity, folklore, and animalistic roles are visually simplified and accessible, resembling the visual quality of a peculiar and conversational painting found in the living room of a student apartment. 
Masako Miki is represented by the Swarm Gallery in Oakland, CA. 
- Victoria Nolte

Mythologies and Meanings: Masako Miki
Artists have often attributed qualities of the surreal “other” to the animal world. Our animal counterparts are seen by many as being devoid of cultural instincts that restrict and normalize behaviour. They are thus able to act out the lascivious instincts humans work to eradicate and symbolize myths of collisions between natural and human worlds. 
Drawing from this playbook of animal subjects and myth, California based artist Masako Miki establishes dreamlike identity narratives while toying with the psychology behind animal motifs in fine art. Her animal subjects become symbols through which our fantasies, desires, and vulnerabilities may be realized. Like Surrealist artists before her, Miki’s interest in exploring the dreamy and symbolic nature of animal life permits new mythologies in the dynamic relations between animals and humans to emerge. 
Moreover, through a very simple aesthetic, the animal motifs Miki explores in her delicate paintings - a combination of a variety of mixed media, including rainbow-hued embroidery thread, gouache, ink, and wool - receive a quirky and contemporary upgrade. No longer resembling grandiose historical nature paintings or cheesy, kitschy, oil-on-panel paintings found in your grandparents’ attic, Miki’s mediations on identity, folklore, and animalistic roles are visually simplified and accessible, resembling the visual quality of a peculiar and conversational painting found in the living room of a student apartment. 
Masako Miki is represented by the Swarm Gallery in Oakland, CA. 
- Victoria Nolte

Mythologies and Meanings: Masako Miki
Artists have often attributed qualities of the surreal “other” to the animal world. Our animal counterparts are seen by many as being devoid of cultural instincts that restrict and normalize behaviour. They are thus able to act out the lascivious instincts humans work to eradicate and symbolize myths of collisions between natural and human worlds. 
Drawing from this playbook of animal subjects and myth, California based artist Masako Miki establishes dreamlike identity narratives while toying with the psychology behind animal motifs in fine art. Her animal subjects become symbols through which our fantasies, desires, and vulnerabilities may be realized. Like Surrealist artists before her, Miki’s interest in exploring the dreamy and symbolic nature of animal life permits new mythologies in the dynamic relations between animals and humans to emerge. 
Moreover, through a very simple aesthetic, the animal motifs Miki explores in her delicate paintings - a combination of a variety of mixed media, including rainbow-hued embroidery thread, gouache, ink, and wool - receive a quirky and contemporary upgrade. No longer resembling grandiose historical nature paintings or cheesy, kitschy, oil-on-panel paintings found in your grandparents’ attic, Miki’s mediations on identity, folklore, and animalistic roles are visually simplified and accessible, resembling the visual quality of a peculiar and conversational painting found in the living room of a student apartment. 
Masako Miki is represented by the Swarm Gallery in Oakland, CA. 
- Victoria Nolte

Mythologies and Meanings: Masako Miki

Artists have often attributed qualities of the surreal “other” to the animal world. Our animal counterparts are seen by many as being devoid of cultural instincts that restrict and normalize behaviour. They are thus able to act out the lascivious instincts humans work to eradicate and symbolize myths of collisions between natural and human worlds. 

Drawing from this playbook of animal subjects and myth, California based artist Masako Miki establishes dreamlike identity narratives while toying with the psychology behind animal motifs in fine art. Her animal subjects become symbols through which our fantasies, desires, and vulnerabilities may be realized. Like Surrealist artists before her, Miki’s interest in exploring the dreamy and symbolic nature of animal life permits new mythologies in the dynamic relations between animals and humans to emerge. 

Moreover, through a very simple aesthetic, the animal motifs Miki explores in her delicate paintings - a combination of a variety of mixed media, including rainbow-hued embroidery thread, gouache, ink, and wool - receive a quirky and contemporary upgrade. No longer resembling grandiose historical nature paintings or cheesy, kitschy, oil-on-panel paintings found in your grandparents’ attic, Miki’s mediations on identity, folklore, and animalistic roles are visually simplified and accessible, resembling the visual quality of a peculiar and conversational painting found in the living room of a student apartment. 

Masako Miki is represented by the Swarm Gallery in Oakland, CA. 

Victoria Nolte

(Source: artandsciencejournal.com)

4 Photos
/ art nature animals myth motif painting masako miki victoria nolte
Illusions of Life
Painting has always been used to mimic our surroundings. Whether it was used be Ancient civilizations on wall frescoes, or whether it hung in the grand palaces of Renaissance nobles, natural motifs such as plants and wildlife were studied in order to paint the most lifelike rendition.
Now, art is freer, with many movements happening at once. Realism seems to have been pushed back, with artists now focusing on the expression of their work, and how it stirs emotions. This is why artists, who focus on realism in their art, are finding new ways of making it relevant to today’s tastes. Artists Riusuke Fukahori and Keng Lye use layers of resin to bring their aquatic creatures to life, in a visually stunning display of three-dimensional optical illusions. Instead of using a flat canvas, painting on water, and then the creatures, these artists pour resin into jars, bowls or boxes, and paint their fish and turtles, one layer at a time, with more resin poured in between each coat of paint. The process is like that of a 3-D printer, a new technology that many artists are using in their contemporary works. Through the mimicking of this new art process, their realist style of art is able to join the ranks of contemporary artists.-Anna Paluch

Illusions of Life

Painting has always been used to mimic our surroundings. Whether it was used be Ancient civilizations on wall frescoes, or whether it hung in the grand palaces of Renaissance nobles, natural motifs such as plants and wildlife were studied in order to paint the most lifelike rendition.

Now, art is freer, with many movements happening at once. Realism seems to have been pushed back, with artists now focusing on the expression of their work, and how it stirs emotions. This is why artists, who focus on realism in their art, are finding new ways of making it relevant to today’s tastes. Artists Riusuke Fukahori and Keng Lye use layers of resin to bring their aquatic creatures to life, in a visually stunning display of three-dimensional optical illusions. Instead of using a flat canvas, painting on water, and then the creatures, these artists pour resin into jars, bowls or boxes, and paint their fish and turtles, one layer at a time, with more resin poured in between each coat of paint. The process is like that of a 3-D printer, a new technology that many artists are using in their contemporary works.

Through the mimicking of this new art process, their realist style of art is able to join the ranks of contemporary artists.

-Anna Paluch

(Source: artandsciencejournal.com)

painting nature art resin art and science art and science journal science riusuke fukahori ken lye anna paluch
Paper Reefs
Some artists use materials related to the subjects they paint when creating art pieces, but artist Amy Eisenfeld Genser doesn’t pick up found object at her local beach when she creates her reef pieces. She takes pieces of coloured paper, rolls them up, and positions them in a way that the final outcome looks like a natural formation of barnacles or sea sponge.
Her pieces are visually mesmerizing, with a hint of something magical! It is like entering into a new world when you look at her work. The mosaic of shapes and colours created by the rolled paper, juxtaposed onto an already painted canvas, stimulates the senses. The artist herself claims her work is both irregular and ordered, using texture to mimic natural motifs.
It is amazing how paper, a material traditionally made from trees, can be manipulated to recreate the basic structures of a reef, which to some, may be considered a tree of the sea. Nature once again creates a connection within itself through art practices.
-Anna Paluch
Paper Reefs
Some artists use materials related to the subjects they paint when creating art pieces, but artist Amy Eisenfeld Genser doesn’t pick up found object at her local beach when she creates her reef pieces. She takes pieces of coloured paper, rolls them up, and positions them in a way that the final outcome looks like a natural formation of barnacles or sea sponge.
Her pieces are visually mesmerizing, with a hint of something magical! It is like entering into a new world when you look at her work. The mosaic of shapes and colours created by the rolled paper, juxtaposed onto an already painted canvas, stimulates the senses. The artist herself claims her work is both irregular and ordered, using texture to mimic natural motifs.
It is amazing how paper, a material traditionally made from trees, can be manipulated to recreate the basic structures of a reef, which to some, may be considered a tree of the sea. Nature once again creates a connection within itself through art practices.
-Anna Paluch

Paper Reefs

Some artists use materials related to the subjects they paint when creating art pieces, but artist Amy Eisenfeld Genser doesn’t pick up found object at her local beach when she creates her reef pieces. She takes pieces of coloured paper, rolls them up, and positions them in a way that the final outcome looks like a natural formation of barnacles or sea sponge.

Her pieces are visually mesmerizing, with a hint of something magical! It is like entering into a new world when you look at her work. The mosaic of shapes and colours created by the rolled paper, juxtaposed onto an already painted canvas, stimulates the senses. The artist herself claims her work is both irregular and ordered, using texture to mimic natural motifs.

It is amazing how paper, a material traditionally made from trees, can be manipulated to recreate the basic structures of a reef, which to some, may be considered a tree of the sea. Nature once again creates a connection within itself through art practices.

-Anna Paluch

(Source: artandsciencejournal.com)

2 Photos
/ Amy Eisenfeld Genser reefs coral reef quilling paper nature art science art and science journal painting mixed media
Amy Schissel
Ottawa area artist Amy Schissel recently showed her piece Cyberfields (2012) from her series “Systems Fever” at the Volta Art Fair in New York City illustrating another sense of connection from the advancements of science and technology to (landscape) art.
Her work featured here consists of fine lines meant to mirror the seemingly invisible connections from person to person on the digital landscape, otherwise known as an Internet Map, as visualized by The Dimes Project. By exploring the question of the digital landscape in her mixed media art, Schissel seems to beg the question of where we exist (geographically, at least) when using our tech (smart phones, twitter, texting, facebook, etc.). Are the messages we send invisible, a means of communication, or do they signify something more? Are the places we send our digital messages or notes from/to representative of us—what can our digital landscapes tell us about ourselves and this brave new world we live in? So much can be understood from the connections we make every day, even those we cannot physically see.
By turning the visualization of the Internet Map into a art form of physical, tactile painting, Schissel has already, like the lines on the map, forged a connection from the digital to the traditional. 
- Rose Ekins

Amy Schissel

Ottawa area artist Amy Schissel recently showed her piece Cyberfields (2012) from her series “Systems Fever” at the Volta Art Fair in New York City illustrating another sense of connection from the advancements of science and technology to (landscape) art.

Her work featured here consists of fine lines meant to mirror the seemingly invisible connections from person to person on the digital landscape, otherwise known as an Internet Map, as visualized by The Dimes Project. By exploring the question of the digital landscape in her mixed media art, Schissel seems to beg the question of where we exist (geographically, at least) when using our tech (smart phones, twitter, texting, facebook, etc.). Are the messages we send invisible, a means of communication, or do they signify something more? Are the places we send our digital messages or notes from/to representative of us—what can our digital landscapes tell us about ourselves and this brave new world we live in? So much can be understood from the connections we make every day, even those we cannot physically see.

By turning the visualization of the Internet Map into a art form of physical, tactile painting, Schissel has already, like the lines on the map, forged a connection from the digital to the traditional. 

- Rose Ekins

art science art and science journal amy schissel rose ekins lee jones dimes project digital map internet map internet art painting landscape
Come a Little Closer, And You Shall See…
The parallels between artistic strategies and natural occurrences are many. Where Neo-Impressionistic masters, such as Paul Signac or Georges Seurat created divisionistic works, mimicking the separation of colour from light that our eyes mesh together to create an optical illusion of blended colour, now, with the endless possibilities of science, we can see similar ‘special effects’ in microbiology.
Upon first observation, Dr. Daniela Malide’s photograph of connective tissue cells looks like a close-up of a painting by the aforementioned Signac or Seurat. Yet these connective tissues have been co-transduced with fluorescent proteins, giving off the vibrant colours seen in the image. The cells begin to connect with each other, sometimes meshing colours, but they are still reminiscent of the technique of painting with colour and light of the Neo-Impressionists.
It’s just another, funny little coincidence, of science and art, coming together to both make something beautiful, and teach us about the world around us.  
-Anna Paluch

Come a Little Closer, And You Shall See…


The parallels between artistic strategies and natural occurrences are many. Where Neo-Impressionistic masters, such as
Paul Signac or Georges Seurat created divisionistic works, mimicking the separation of colour from light that our eyes mesh together to create an optical illusion of blended colour, now, with the endless possibilities of science, we can see similar ‘special effects’ in microbiology.

Upon first observation, Dr. Daniela Malide’s photograph of connective tissue cells looks like a close-up of a painting by the aforementioned Signac or Seurat. Yet these connective tissues have been co-transduced with fluorescent proteins, giving off the vibrant colours seen in the image. The cells begin to connect with each other, sometimes meshing colours, but they are still reminiscent of the technique of painting with colour and light of the Neo-Impressionists.

It’s just another, funny little coincidence, of science and art, coming together to both make something beautiful, and teach us about the world around us.  

-Anna Paluch

(Source: artandsciencejournal.com)

Paul Signac Georges Seurat Dr. Daniela Mlide photography painting neo-impressionist microscopic microbiology colour and light optical illusion divisionism anna paluch art science
Leo de Freyne
These geometric, stylized iceberg paintings by Dublin artist and writer Leo de Freyne capture the architecture of these natural structures and the poetry of their colossal presence. But the iceberg is of course more than an aesthetic object; this pristine, natural sculpture has also become a symbol for those other losses incurred due to climate change. And at a time when climate change threatens the environment perhaps more than ever, one worries that the inspiration for such paintings will soon become mere memory. 
See more of de Freyne’s artwork here. Also check out photographer Camille Seaman’s Last Iceberg Series.
- Erin Saunders
Leo de Freyne
These geometric, stylized iceberg paintings by Dublin artist and writer Leo de Freyne capture the architecture of these natural structures and the poetry of their colossal presence. But the iceberg is of course more than an aesthetic object; this pristine, natural sculpture has also become a symbol for those other losses incurred due to climate change. And at a time when climate change threatens the environment perhaps more than ever, one worries that the inspiration for such paintings will soon become mere memory. 
See more of de Freyne’s artwork here. Also check out photographer Camille Seaman’s Last Iceberg Series.
- Erin Saunders
Leo de Freyne
These geometric, stylized iceberg paintings by Dublin artist and writer Leo de Freyne capture the architecture of these natural structures and the poetry of their colossal presence. But the iceberg is of course more than an aesthetic object; this pristine, natural sculpture has also become a symbol for those other losses incurred due to climate change. And at a time when climate change threatens the environment perhaps more than ever, one worries that the inspiration for such paintings will soon become mere memory. 
See more of de Freyne’s artwork here. Also check out photographer Camille Seaman’s Last Iceberg Series.
- Erin Saunders
Leo de Freyne
These geometric, stylized iceberg paintings by Dublin artist and writer Leo de Freyne capture the architecture of these natural structures and the poetry of their colossal presence. But the iceberg is of course more than an aesthetic object; this pristine, natural sculpture has also become a symbol for those other losses incurred due to climate change. And at a time when climate change threatens the environment perhaps more than ever, one worries that the inspiration for such paintings will soon become mere memory. 
See more of de Freyne’s artwork here. Also check out photographer Camille Seaman’s Last Iceberg Series.
- Erin Saunders
Leo de Freyne
These geometric, stylized iceberg paintings by Dublin artist and writer Leo de Freyne capture the architecture of these natural structures and the poetry of their colossal presence. But the iceberg is of course more than an aesthetic object; this pristine, natural sculpture has also become a symbol for those other losses incurred due to climate change. And at a time when climate change threatens the environment perhaps more than ever, one worries that the inspiration for such paintings will soon become mere memory. 
See more of de Freyne’s artwork here. Also check out photographer Camille Seaman’s Last Iceberg Series.
- Erin Saunders
Leo de Freyne
These geometric, stylized iceberg paintings by Dublin artist and writer Leo de Freyne capture the architecture of these natural structures and the poetry of their colossal presence. But the iceberg is of course more than an aesthetic object; this pristine, natural sculpture has also become a symbol for those other losses incurred due to climate change. And at a time when climate change threatens the environment perhaps more than ever, one worries that the inspiration for such paintings will soon become mere memory. 
See more of de Freyne’s artwork here. Also check out photographer Camille Seaman’s Last Iceberg Series.
- Erin Saunders

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