Another highlight of the fair was the work of Shanthi Chandrasekar, a Tamil artist based in Maryland showing her work through Lamina Project. I was drawn in by Chandrasekar’s circular handmade paper discs that were unshielded and fluttering ever-so-gently in the breeze of passersby. I commented that they reminded me of chapatis because of their organically imperfect edges and cream and black palette, and she told me that the work next to it, a large ink drawing speckled with orange circles, reminded her of gulab jamun (a popular West and South Asian dessert made from balls of flour and soaked in rose syrup).
After our shared laugh, Chandrasekar told me about how her multidisciplinary practice weaves a thread (metaphorically and sometimes physically) through the molecular, the cosmic, and what can be seen with the human eye alone. Her obsessive but meditative patterning serves as an attempt in transcribing the universe through naturally occurring motifs rooted in physics, biology, chemistry, and astronomy. Unfazed by mistakes, Chandrasekar both imparts her optimistic passion for understanding the science of life through her joyful, layered, and ever-evolving craft.
Art Activations by Three Female Artists
Suspended at the fair's entrance is a site-specific sculptural installation by Shanthi Chandrasekar presented by LAMINAproject. Titled Cosmic Vibrations - Raining Gold, the work is inspired by various creation theories and discoveries in cosmology. Made of metal rings, wire, and monofilament, the work presents two neutron stars that merge and form gold.
Chandrasekar is a multidisciplinary artist trained in the traditional art forms of Kolam and Tanjore-style painting. She combines geometrical abstraction, visual interpretations, and traditional arts to delve into the study of the origin of the universe and search for ultimate truths.
Fairgoers entering Volta were greeted with a glittery installation by Shanthi Chandrasekar titled “Cosmic Vibrations – Raining Gold” (2023). I remember that the self-taught sculpture artist wowed fair-goers at Art on Paper in September with her meticulously hole-punched ceiling fixtures. But for this exhibition, Chandrasekar traded paper for metal to create an ethereal hanging sculpture made of gold wiring and variously sized rings. Like much of her work, the installation references cosmological and philosophical concepts, such as kilonovas — the rare collision of two neutron stars that produces heavy metals.
The display was led by Lamina Project, a New York gallery that focuses on the crossover between art and science. Lamina Project’s own gallery presentation continued to lead to more intriguing artwork based on mathematical patterns and microbiological research by artists Jody Rasch and Mark Pomilio, alongside additional mesmerizing works by Chandrasekar.
When seeking artists to exhibit work at the Hood College Hodson Gallery, gallery director Bonnie Kern had asked artist Michal Gavish whether she would be able to fill the 50-foot walls in the space.
Gavish succeeded, despite having started on a microscopic level.
“Neuro Land,” which opened at the Hodson on Jan. 17, was inspired by 3D models of nerve cells, also known as neurons, in the brain. Students stop in to look and take selfies amid the images Gavish painted on fabric and paper, which delights Kern, who said her goal is to intermingle the arts with other college departments.
Although Science Art (“SciArt”) is increasingly used in science communication as a way to make content more engaging or accessible, little is known about why artists pursue this practice or what they hope to achieve through their work. This project addresses these questions through a thematic analysis of interviews with 131 practicing science artists. We identify a diversity of goals for creating SciArt, only some of which involve communicating science.
Jody Rasch, for example, who said: “There are multiple dimensions that I am trying to communicate in my work, but mostly I want the observer to begin to question what he/she believes”.
Most impressive to me of the sculptural works is Shanthi Chandrasekar’s “Entropy: Macrostates & Microstates.” Near the top of the hanging piece are a set of large circular disks populated with holes of varying sizes. Hanging from those disks are smaller disks made from the punched out holes — and the disks hanging off them subsequently iterate accordingly.
Chandrasekar, who didn’t formally study art but studied physics and psychology, says that from a young age she was drawn to the quotidian delights of the hole punch. “I loved the leftover negative space,” she explains.
“The more I worked, the more I got to understand the medium, in terms of not using pencil or anything else other than a piece of paper and a hole punch. I loved every bit of the paper I was punching,” she says, relating her process and the finished product with entropy. Meticulously saving each piece of paper that she punched out, she says, “is entropy at different levels; change happening. It’s the disintegration of a sheet of paper — dissipating energy.” As I follow that dissipation to the ground, I note the piles of infinitesimal debris at our feet. “It all comes down to this. After this, you can’t go any further,” Chandrasekar laughs.
“It’s also a remnant of my childhood — growing up by the sea, and coming to this country, and the snow, the rain, the leaves,” she says. As an aside, she adds that she wasn’t too strict with herself about calculating the number of holes in each disc, but that “prime numbers” have the tendency to “go wild.” Critical to the sculptural pleasure (and attendant creative envy) of these works is the pleasure of intricacy in a familiar medium that many of us engage with only haphazardly and instrumentally.
Art on Paper, New York's paper-based contemporary art fair, will return to Manhattan's Pier 36 from 8 to 11 September.
Eighty-seven galleries are taking part this year, a significant leap up from 67 in 2021.
'The fair has always had a notable international component, but many of those galleries were not able to join us in 2021 due to travel restrictions,' said Kelly Freeman, Director of AMP Events, which organises the fair. 'With the reopening of borders, we've been able to welcome back more of these incredible programmes.'
'Art on Paper is inherently a remarkable opportunity to access the global art market during New York City's Armory Week, and as such, the fair has a dedicated audience that returns year over year to support exhibiting programmes and artists,' she added.
Freeman said she was especially excited to spend time with the public projects programme devoted to female makers.
Among the works by women are a mobile comprising repurposed waste paper 'cookies' by New York-based Japanese ceramicist and designer Yuko Nishikawa that will be suspended in Art on Paper's central lounge. Nearby, Wook+Lattuada (New York) will present NYU professor emeritus Angiola Churchill's Labyrinth, an installation of suspended paper walls with cut out labyrinthine patterns.
Experiencing art, whether through melody or oil paint, elicits in us a range of emotions. This speaks to the innate entanglement of art and the brain: Mirror neurons can make people feel like they are physically experiencing a painting. And listening to music can change their brain chemistry. For the past 11 years, the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience in Amsterdam has hosted the annual Art of Neuroscience Competition and explored this intersection. This year’s competition received more than 100 submissions, some created by artists inspired by neuroscience and others by neuroscientists inspired by art. The top picks explore a breadth of ideas—from the experience of losing consciousness to the importance of animal models in research—but all of them tie back to our uniquely human brain.
by Shanthi Chandrasekar
Blue-green pathways race across artist Shanthi Chandrasekar’s Neurocosmology- Networks atop a background of yellowish-brown neurons. Points of pale yellow dots swirl down the image, looping over and under the blue trails. Chandrasekar creates an intricate network of shapes, patterns and colors reminiscent of the complex networks that surround us, from digital systems to our own brain.
Some of the most innovative artists working today are fusing art and science and taking inspiration from science. LAMINAproject−a gallery/platform devoted to art/science−showcases artwork by emerging and established artists that integrates ideas, images and metaphors of science to convey fundamental truths about the world and explore different characteristics of art-science relationships. LAMINAproject’s artists not only show the beauty of science, but also communicate how these images relate to and help us see beyond our daily existence. As expressions of both the patterns of the natural world and the metaphors underlying modern science, their art allows us to see beauty in the repulsive, to find knowledge in the unknown, and to observe the unseen to more clearly see our world. By exploring the invisible, Esslinger, Gavish, and Rasch invite the observer to look beyond the “seen” to appreciate the beauty and mystery of the “unseen.”
The 10 artists featured in “And I Must Scream” touch on themes from the COVID-19 pandemic to human rights violations and hail from Africa, Asia, England, Europe and America (including one Atlanta artist, Amie Esslinger). They offer resistance and a frank assessment of the ongoing interconnected threats posed by climate change and consumerism in this group exhibition organized by the Carlos’ curator of African art Amanda H. Hellman.
Themes from consumerism, climate change, environmental destruction to the pandemic highlight this marvelous group show.
Review: Artists give powerful shape to global crises in “And I Must Scream” by Louise E. Shaw
Linking the galleries is a series of site-specific installations by Atlanta-based Amie Esslinger. Imaginary viruses populate the acid-color walls, nightmarishly replicating at a horrifying pace. Frenetically beautiful, the works set up a bait-and-switch situation in which we’re drawn into their complexity and lurid colors only to realize the horror that they represent.
Esslinger’s work takes on new urgency in the context of the Covid pandemic. She is not only visualizing our lived trauma, but also making a call to action to address contemporary unbalances between humans, animals and the environment that industrialization, deforestation and global inaction has caused.
As a native of the rural north Georgia mountains, Amie Esslinger was immersed in the rich traditions and visual oddities of the self-taught art world. While the vibrant palettes and the DIY-with-whatever-you-can-find of her upbringing still resonate with and influence her art practice, it is the natural world that grounds and motivates Esslinger's work. Drawing on experience with ceramics, fabric, and sculpture, her paintings and distinctive mixed-media installations attempt to bridge the gap between art and science. Esslinger received a BFA from Georgia State University. She has shown in galleries throughout Atlanta, including 'The World Unseen: Intersections of Art and Science' at the David J. Sencer Centers for Disease Control Museum in association with the Smithsonian Institution. Esslinger has been a resident of Yaddo in Saratoga Springs, New York, and the Hambidge Center in Rabun, Georgia. She is a recipient of Idea Capital’s Antinori Visual Artist Grant, and is a 2022 Forward Arts Foundation's Edge Award finalist. Esslinger has work in the permanent collections of the CDC Museum and the Atlanta Central Library.
“Complexity is the underlying focus of my work. My work is not rigidly representational but rather it’s suggestive of the very real and very complicated parts and systems that compose and surround us but that cannot be seen by the naked eye. Using motifs from microbiology, I experiment with material, scale, and replication to create abstract biomorphs of vivid color, hyper-texture, and dedicated detail.”
Drawing on her experience with ceramics, fabric, and sculpture, Amie Esslinger’s paintings and distinctive mixed-media installations attempt to bridge the gap between art and science.
Atlanta-based visual artist Amie Esslinger creates abstract yet exquisitely detailed biomorphs using a variety of material and electrifying colour palettes. Inspired by microbiology, her paintings and almost architectural installations invite us into the microcosmos to ponder our hidden biology and confront our understanding of complexity.
Equally accomplished as a painter, sculptor, ceramist, and textile artist, Esslinger uses a multitudinous array of material to turn cellular organisms into titanic beings. From acrylic, paint, ink, paper, foam, canvas, felt, and wood to polymer clay, burnt elk leather, false eyelashes, magnifying lenses, artificial sinew, copper crimps, mica glitter and more; anything is up for experimentation.
Ten of her works are currently on view in her solo exhibition, The Immeasurable Space. Presented in the LAMINAproject Online Viewing Room on Artsy, the digital gallery is accessible through May 31, 2021.
In this interview with Art the Science, Esslinger discusses the thoughtful and playful processes behind her biomorphs, how microbiology fascinates her, and the evolution of her work.
Which came first in your life, the science or the art?
Art came first. I grew up in an artist household with two working artist parents and we lived on twenty one acres boxed in by a national forest. I had the encouragement to be creative and the freedom and space to explore the many branches of creek and forest around me. I had access to a generous book collection with tons of reference books on animals and plant life. My first biological sketches came from the Audubon books on sea life. Later, I didn’t think twice about going to art school. Finding interdisciplinary courses that married art practice with environmental studies helped me to fully integrate science into my work.
The concept of life thriving and adapting under extreme conditions resonates with Atlanta-based artist Amie Esslinger. Her painting “Hydro Vents and Other Difficult Places” appears as this month’s cover art.
Amie Esslinger works in the space nudged between art, research and science with the end result being mind-blowingly beautiful. This year, Esslinger is the winner of the Antinori Visual Artist Grant. Our interview with Amy covers travel, materials used in art and the current climate for artists like herself.
Joyce Yamada is a Brooklyn-based artist working in both painting and multi-media installation. An intuitive painter using complex imagery, she is profoundly interested in science, ecology, and the environment. She probes the relationship between humans and nature, the deep history of life on earth, and our possible futures.
Painter Joyce Yamada grew up on the west coast. She spent her childhood vacations in the beautiful national parks of the US and Canada where pristine forests and the Pacific coast were imprinted in her visual memory. She recalls that although as a teenager she realized that art is her task in life, struggling to survive by minimum wage work led her to medical school which she completed and then subsequently became a diagnostic radiologist. This science background has fed her mind and artwork ever since. Yamada says she is a painter because she conceptualizes in images rather than in words — “when puzzled, my mind juxtaposes or fuses unexpected images, often leading to new work,” she says. For instance, an early series, Body, Earth, came to her in art school — while looking at the hills across the bay from San Francisco she saw the low rounded hills as the reclining body of a woman. The juxtaposed imagery meant to her that we are intimately and indivisibly part of earth and of nature, that what we do to the earth we do to ourselves. She has subsequently seen this idea expressed in indigenous cultures, and it became central in her work.
Pairings in art are rarely as inspired as seeing the works of Mark Pomilio and He Gong in the same room. The Mesa Contemporary Art Museum (MCA) brings together two painters with distinguished careers who have had radically different experiences in life and come from counter-distinct artistic traditions. While the deep resonances between these two might not be readily apparent to the causal viewer, what they have in common illuminates the works in this exhibition that much more poignantly.
The top works—and our favorites—range from interactive pieces to a pen-and-paper drawing.
By Karen Kwon, Liz Tormes on July 23, 2020
Interalia Magazine, an online magaine dedicated to the interactions between the arts, sciences and consciousness, features Jody Rasch's Biology work in its April issue, with a specific look at his Healing and Thought series.
As a chemist and artist, I experiment with expressing environmental concerns on the most basic molecular levels. Using microscopes and collaborative laboratory data, I focus on the stress on DNA and proteins in the changing environment. Collaborating with scientists, I create art based on specific scientific models.
Although art and science might be viewed as diametrically opposite, artists and scientists seek answers to the same fundamental questions, trying to understand and visualize the invisible and what it means to be human. Some of the most innovative artists working today are fusing art and science, taking inspiration from science and using scientific techniques in their work. A compelling exhibition at Weill Cornell Medicine’s Samuel J. Wood Library in New York, entitled Seeing Within: Art Inspired by Science, features the work of Jody Rasch, Cheryl Safran, and Julia Buntaine Hoel who use the visual language and findings of biology to create artwork that invites viewers to explore and appreciate the beauty and mystery of biology.
Artist and chemist Michal Gavish wants viewers to consider the complexity and fragility of humans’ inner biology. In her 3-D drawing and painting installations, she magnifies imagery of DNA and protein structures to a human scale. She also introduces color, giving a new presence to living formations that are invisible to the naked eye.
Self-taught artist Shanthi Chandrasekar says curiosity has been the driving force behind her art, a combination of “scientific fact and theories with my wild imagination.” With a background in both physics and psychology, Chandrasekar has branched into different kinds of art, including drawing, printmaking, papermaking, photography, sculpture, and traditional Kolam drawings. Many of these skills are currently on display in Fermilab’s art gallery, where Chandrasekar’s exhibit, “Cosmic Design,” runs through Oct. 31.
Here Chandrasekar breaks down some of the inspiration, concepts, and thought processes behind 10 of the works from “Cosmic Design.”
BUSHWICK/BED-STUY – Arts in Bushwick hosted the 13th annual Bushwick Open Studios over the weekend, welcoming the public into the workspaces of more than 200 artists in and around the neighborhood.
Bklyner visited the studios of nine local artists. Check out their work below and read their thoughts on working in the area and participating in the 2019 Bushwick Open Studios.
In Atlanta, The David J. Sencer CDC Museum’s new exhibition--The World Unseen: Intersections of Art and Science—gathers the work of ten international artists who draw upon microbiology, biotechnology, anatomy, and texts in their investigations of microbes and cells, DNA, history of disease and science, the body, and beauty.
Images from electron microscopy, particle accelerators, and radio astronomy are beautifully transformed in sciartist Jody Rasch’s vibrant works. Some of his latest pieces are on view for the first time in Duality: Art + Science, an exhibit curated by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) as part of its Art of Science and Technology Program. The show is on view until February 1, 2019 at the AAAS’s gallery space in Washington, DC.
The paintings and drawings in “Duality: Art and Science” are clearly handmade, yet are inspired by things glimpsed through machines, notably microscopes and radio telescopes. As interpreted by New York’s Jody Rasch and the District’s Betsy Stewart, the phenomena celebrated in the American Association for the Advancement of Science show appear similar in form, whether they’re massive or microscopic in actuality. They lose their original scale and, in some cases, their menace.
Duality–abstraction and representation, the literal and the metaphorical, science and mysticism, the unseen and the seen–is a predominant theme in New York artist Jody Rasch’s work, which is explored in Duality: Art + Science, a stunning exhibition curated by The American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington, DC as part of its Art of Science and Technology Program. The exhibition also features work by Betsy Stewart and is on view through February 1, 2019 in the gallery space at AAAS’s headquarters. Rasch uses science images to look beyond what we see in the macro world of our daily lives and challenges us to explore the world around us, question our world-view and how we react to information. Duality: Art + Science presents paintings and drawings inspired by astronomy, biology, physics and spectra.
The American Association For the Advancement of Science has put on an art show featuring the works of Betsy Stewart and Jody Rasch called Duality: Art+Science. I was honored to be asked to install the show at the AAAS Headquarters Gallery in Washington DC. The show runs from November 2, 2018, to Feb 1, 2019.
Looking beyond the "seen" to appreciate the beauty and mystery of the "unseen"
Jody Rasch is a New York-based artist who explores the duality of nature through scientifically influenced abstractions. Exploring both the seen and the unseen, his paintings are otherworldly and atmospheric, having one foot in the material and one in the compexly unreal. He has been exhibiting for over 25 years, and is affiliated with the Art & Science Collaborations, Inc., (ASCI) and The New York Academy of Sciences.