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November 27th, 2007
Part art and part optical illusion, this exhibition curated by Jeanne Brasile and Jason Marquis will fascinate and delight audiences with an array of art that fools the eye through a number of scientific and illusory means. Discover how artists create this art and the scientific principles behind the illusions. The exhibition is open to the public until December 15 at Walsh Gallery, the primary exhibition space on the South Orange campus of Seton Hall University, in New Jersey ( http://library.shu.edu/gallery ).
Jeanne Brasile, the gallery director and show co-curator, had the amability to answer a few questions for the readers of Nanotechnology Now:
Q. How did you come up with the idea of the "Eye Tricks" show?
JB. Eye Tricks came about due to my interest in the intersection of art and other branches of knowledge. I've always been interested in producing interdisciplinary exhibitions that question the role of art, as well as break down barriers between what I deem to be artificial separations between design, craft, high-art, low-art, etc. I'm always looking to broaden audience perceptions of how art is defined.
Q. How did you and Jason selected the participated artists?
JB. Jason and I first scoured artist registries to see if there was anything appropriate out there on the web. We were delighted to find out that many artists were thinking along the same lines as us - that is, the influence of science on their artistic output. I also reached out to a number of friends I knew that were working in this vein. Lastly, we placed a call for submissions on the web. I like doing that because it's always great to view work that might not have come to our attention otherwise.
Q. What mediums do the artists use in this show?
JB. The great thing about this show is that artists in all media are incorporating scientific ideas in their art. There are digital videos, sculptures, giclee prints, works on paper, 3D digital images, lenticulars and paintings on display. This shows how far-reaching the influence of science is on many artists.
Q. What's the relation between art, science, and technology in your exhibition? How was this conveyed in the artworks?
JB. I think that art, science and technology are quite symbiotic. Think back to ancient Greece or the Renaissance - there wasn't this artificial separation of art and science. Artists used science to figure out solutions to mastering perspective, bodily proportions and constructing magnificent architecture. In this show, some artists are using a visual vocabulary to comment on scientific principles. Other artists use art as the vehicle to enact scientific principles, while others incorporate technology into the creation of their work. Regardless, science and technology are integral to their artistic process and output.
Q. This is for the first time, that I recall, when two nanoartists are selected to exhibit their works in a non-exclusive NanoArt show. Could you comment on this, please?
JB. This illustrates my point about having an interdisciplinary exhibition schedule. I don't believe that NanoArt should be relegated to only shows of NanoArt. There is a validity to this work aesthetically, artistically and conceptually and one would hope NanoArt begins to gain acceptance in more galleries. I think it was very important that NanoArt is being displayed alongside art of all media. I hope that it catches on.
Q. From a curator point of view, what do you think would be the future of the NanoArt movement? Why the curators would be interested in this new art discipline? What would take for the nanoartists to raise the curator's interest for their work?
JB. I believe that as nanotechnology becomes more of a household word, people will become aware of NanoArt as well. Right now, it's relatively new to those outside of the nanotechnology sphere. I think that shows such as "Eye Tricks" have the potential to raise awareness of NanoArt. Perhaps this show will lead to more shows that display NanoArt alongside more accepted forms of art and espouse NanoArt as a valid form of artistic expression. I think if nanoartists want to get curators interested in their work, they should perhaps try to infiltrate shows in which other media are being shown. I think that showing solely NanoArt in an exhibition might put up this arbitrary wall that separates NanoArt from other forms of art. But again, I'm for breaking down the barriers between disciplines from a curatorial standpoint. The fact that your art was listed on a fine arts registry is a good start too - I don't know if I would have found you if you were on a registry featuring solely NanoArt. I wouldn't have even known to look there.
Q. Was the show's audience (general public, art critics, press) expressing interest in the NanoArt works exhibited at this event? Are you planning to show more NanoArt at Walsh gallery in the future?
JB. The public is very interested in the imagery displayed, but when I or my gallery assistants explain what NanoArt is, they become fascinated by the concept. It's really hard to wrap your head around something that minute. I'd love to show more NanoArt in the Walsh Gallery if it fits within the context of an upcoming show. The imagery is really quite powerful and I love idea of how the technology works. It functions on aesthetic and conceptual levels.
You can view more works by Jack Mason at:
and more works by Cris Orfescu at: http://www.absolutearts.com/nanoart