Blurred Boundaries between Science and Art

Blurred Boundaries between Science and Art

September 16, 2009 | Published by MMA
Tycho observing supernova, engraving from "Astronomie Populair" by Camille Flammarion, Paris, 1884 (Volume 1, Page 769)
Tycho observing supernova, engraving from “Astronomie Populair” by Camille Flammarion, Paris, 1884 (Volume 1, Page 769)

Two innovative new exhibitions exploring the links between Science and Art open this week at the McMaster Museum of Art and launch a series of related talks, tours and discussions.

The exhibition Light Echo is a collaborative installation by artist Dianne Bos and astronomer Doug Welch whose goal is to give earthlings a second chance to view a 16th-17th century supernova. From 2001-2005, Dr. Doug Welch was part of a sky survey team of astronomers who first recognized that the intense outburst of light produced by a supernova could be studied centuries later by discovering and recording “light echoes”. Their discoveries led to a new way of looking at the sky. The Light Echo exhibition will re-create both the twinkling night sky in Cassiopeia and a Dutch 17th century artist’s studio complete with period paintings from McMaster’s permanent collection and other artifacts. Presented in celebration of International Year of Astronomy 2009.
Supported by the Canada Council for the Arts, the City of Hamilton, and Smith Brothers Contracting Corp.

The second exhibition, A Field Guide to Observing Art, was curated by Dianne Bos and highlights links between art and science (specifically Optics, Physiology, Biology, Geography, and the Scientific Aesthetic) in works from McMaster’s collection. This show raises the questions: Where does art end and science begin? Are artists and scientists truly different species of observers? How different are the representations they make, based on what they observe?

The Events:

Thursday September 17, 6-8 pm
OPENING RECEPTION for both exhibitions
with remarks by Ralph Pudritz, Director, the Origins Institute, McMaster University

Friday September 18
PLANETARIUM & MUSEUM JOINT PRESENTATIONS
Admission is first-come first-serve – Planetarium capacity is 35 people.
11:15: SHOW @ McCallion Planetarium
12:30: ARTISTS’ TALK @ Museum by Dianne Bos and Doug Welch

Saturday September 19 from 2–4 pm
PANEL DISCUSSION: Will There Ever be Another da Vinci?
Panellists:
Dianne Bos, Artist & Guest Curator
Gary Nickard, Clinical Associate Professor, Visual Studies, University of Buffalo
Tim Nye, Associate Professor, Mechanical Engineering, McMaster University
Allison Sekuler, Associate VP and Dean, Graduate Studies; Professor, Psychology Neuroscience & Behaviour, McMaster University

Thursday October 15
PLANETARIUM & MUSEUM JOINT PRESENTATIONS
Admission is first-come first-serve – Planetarium capacity is 35 people.
11:15: SHOW @ McCallion Planetarium
12:30: SCIENTIST’s TALK @ Museum by Doug Welch. This event is sponsored by the Origins Institute, McMaster University.

-Rose Anne Prevec, Communications Officer, McMaster Museum of Art