The UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program and the Pence Gallery, Davis, are co-sponsoring a “Consilience of Art and Science Exhibit,” set Jan. 14-Feb. 27, at the Pence Gallery, 212 D St., Davis.
This will include several special events: a reception on Jan. 14 from 6 to 9 p.m.; a talk by Byron Wolfe, photographer and professor of art at California State University, Chico, who will discuss the work of pioneer photographer Eadweard Muybridge; and a juror’s walk-through from 6 to 7 p.m., Feb. 11. All are free and open to the public. (See more information.)
Diane Ullman, co-founder and co-director of the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program, and James Housefield, professor of design at UC Davis, juried the show, which drew artists from California, including Davis and northern California; New Mexico, Oregon, Washington state, and New York.
“The artwork we received from artists across the nation explores the creative nexus where art and science interconnect," said Ullman, associate dean for undergraduate academic programs at the UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, and professor of entomology. "The exhibit is visually and intellectually exciting and we commend the Pence Gallery for sponsoring it.”
Said Housefield: "Artists' investigations of the forms, structures, practices, and philosophies of science have provided long provided ways for the general public to dream about what art and science can become. We are very fortunate that the resources of the University of California, the arts communities of Davis, and a national array of contemporary artists come together in the space where art and science meet. I hope that this version of the 'Consilience' exhibition will spark more conversations about the ways that artists and scientists may inspire one another."
One of the works, by Joanna Kidd of Davis, is titled "Specimens." It is comprised of three wall cases and a floor case. Specimens are small human sculptures (see top photo), all pinned and displayed as they would be in an insect collection.
So very creative!
Housefield's comment about the ways that artists and scientists can inspire one another definitely holds true with "Specimens."
Undergraduate degree in genetics? Check.
Master’s degree in fine arts? Check.
Scientist and artist? Check.
Such is the case with scientist-artist Donna Billick, who created the “Miss Bee Haven” six-foot bee sculpture in the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven at the University of California, Davis.
Miss Bee Haven?
“I like to play with words,” said Billick, who received both her degrees from UC Davis and then embarked on fusing art with science by teaching classes at UC Davis.
The sculpture, funded by Wells Fargo, graces the half-acre bee friendly garden, located on the Department of Entomology grounds of the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility on Bee Biology Road.
“The bee sculpture is beautiful and provides the perfect focal point for the garden,” said entomologist Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology and professor and former chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology who oversees the garden. “On top of that it accurately represents a worker bee and provides an educational component as well as an aesthetic one.”
Kimsey, who is master-planning the grand opening celebration of the garden, set from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 11, said the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven “is sure to become a campus destination.”
The key goals of the haven, Kimsey said, are to provide a year-around food source for the Laidlaw bees and other pollinators, to raise public awareness about the plight of honey bees, and to encourage visitors to plant bee-friendly gardens of their own.
It’s quite appropriate that the bee sculpture is beneath an almond tree in the garden. California has some 700,000 thousand acres of almonds; each acre requires two bee hives for pollination.
Billick, who worked on the bee from her Davis studio, Billick Rock Art, is the co-founder and co-director of the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program. Billick founded the program in 2006 with entomologist-artist Diane Ullman, professor and former chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and now associate dean for Undergraduate Academic Programs, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.
A self-described “rock artist,” Billick designed, fabricated and constructed Miss Bee Haven, using rebar, chicken wire, sand, cement, tile, bronze, steel, grout, fiberglass and handmade ceramic pieces. The project took her four months to complete.
“During this entire process, I developed a real in-depth relationship with honey bees,” Billick said. For inspiration and detail, she visited the apiary in back of the Laidlaw facility, read about the functions of bees, and held the thoughts close. “It was not about expressing anything other than the beeness. I have a lot of respect for bees.”
A 35-year artist, she studied with such masters as Bob Arneson, Roy De Forest, Wayne Thiebaud and Manuel Neri.
Her work on the UC Davis campus includes the colorful Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility’s ceramic sign that features DNA symbols and almond blossoms.
Scientist? Check. Artist? Check.
Scientist-artist? Most definitely.
Look closely at Charles Darwin's ceramic face.
You'll see selections from his secret notebooks and images of organisms that most influenced his scientific studies.
His beard is peppered with moths. You'll also find barnacles, iguanas, finches, orchids and other creatures on his face.
It is, says Diane Ullman, "a profound learning experience in and of itself."
The ceramic mosaic, appropriately titled "The Face of Darwin," will be among the art work displayed June 3-July 3 in the Buehler Alumni and Visitors' Center at UC Davis.
The background of "The Face": Ullman, an entomologist-artist, taught a freshman seminar with fellow artist Donna Billick to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Darwin's birthday. Ullman and Billick co-founded the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program and serve as the co-directors. The seminar was part of the Art/Science Fusion Program.
The Buehler art exhibit features more than 50 student photographs from Terry Nathan's class, "Photography: Bridging Art and Science," also part of the Art/Science Fusion Program. The photographs, Nathan said, explore the conceptual connections between art and science and the role of art and science on the UC Davis campus.
A public reception takes place from 3 to 5 p.m. on Thursday, June 4.
"The Face of Darwin" is both hauntingly beautiful and a vividly detailed study of the science that engulfed the evolutionary biologist. The eyes plead his passion, begging for knowledge, understanding and realization.
It is, indeed, as Ullman said, "a profound learning experience in and of itself."
A chimpanzee holds a monarch butterfly in a ceramic art work titled “
Human hands cradle insects and assorted objects in a ceramic work titled “Analyze This.”
Those are just two of the art works featured in a juried show under way at the Pence Gallery,
You can view the art, listen to music and talk to artists at the free public reception set for 7 to 9 p.m., Friday, March 13 at the gallery. The art is amazing, said Art/Science Fusion Program co-director Diane Ullman, associate dean undergraduate academic programs of the
Among the work exhibited in the show is that of Catherine Chalmers, one of the distinguished series of speakers in the Consilience of Art and Science Colloquium, sponsored by Art/Science Fusion, which is part of the Science and Society Program,
The “Analzye This” piece is by Ann Savageau, associate professor of design at UC Davis. Savageau explains: “This is Art analyzing Science analyzing Nature. It makes visible the analytical methodology at the heart of the scientific endeavor. We take our measuring, probing, dissecting, and classifying for granted, as "the way things are". We forget that these are recent cultural constructs. “
Another ceramic work, “Twins,” by Marnia Johnston of
And it’s all a part of the Consilience of Art and Science Colloquium. What is consilience, you ask? William Whewell (1794-1866), who coined the term in 1840, described it as the linking together of facts and principles from different disciplines to form a broad, comprehensive theory that spans the realms of knowledge.
E. O. Wilson brought consilience into the modern lexicon with his highly acclaimed book, Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge.
When the California State Fair, Sacramento, opens Friday, Aug. 15 for an 18-day run, don't miss "California's Gold" and "Nature's Gallery" in the UC Davis Centennial Pavilion (Building 3).
The 6,000-square-foot pavilion will showcase what the university is all about, from its toddler stages to its teenage years to today. It's the university on parade, with one million visitors vying for curbside seats.
What are "California's Gold" and "Nature's Gallery?" Think insects. Think art. Think of a fusion of science and arts. In fact, both projects are part of the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program, directed by UC Davis entomologist Diane Ullman and artist Donna Billick. It's a program where students merge with faculty, staff and community members to create art.
"California's Gold" is a 3x5-foot ceramic mosaic of the state, depicting California's flora and fauna, including the California poppy, quail, trout and salmon, as well as some of our major agriculture crops--dairy cows, honey bees, almonds, grapes, garlic and olives.
"Nature's Gallery" is a spectacular mosaic mural depicting plants and insects on ceramic tiles. (Note that not all of the massive "Nature's Gallery" will be there; just a part of it.) The exhibit drew 300,000 visitors when it was displayed last summer at the U.S. Botanic Garden on the Capitol Mall, Washington, D.C. Eventually the work will be installed in the Ruth Storer Garden, UC Davis Arboretum.
"California's Gold" is going places, too. Following its display at the Aug. 15-Sept. 1 state fair, off it goes for temporary display in Cong. Mike Thompson's office in Washington, D.C.
Ullman and Billick said UC Davis students' creative energy and talents sparked both "California's Gold" and "Nature's Gallery," but we all know that Ullman and Billick are the driving forces. They are amazing innovators who fuse science with art and make their projects both fun and creative. They founded the Art/Science Fusion Program, which is housed in Science and Society, UC Davis College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences.
So, it's not surprising that Ullman, an entomology professor and associate dean for undergradaute academic programs at the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, received a top faculty award this year: the 2008 Chancellor's Achievement Award for Diversity and Community.
Ullman creates communities of learning, said Rahim Reed, associate executive vice chancellor for Campus Community Relations, and she encourages students "to learn in creative ways, discover new careers, and engage in their campus and community."
Very well said. Very well said, indeed.
See you at the fair!