Where art & science meet

Jeff Thornton - Harvest Field

What happens at the intersection of art and science? Come to IonE’s Commons: Meeting & Art Space to see for yourself!

In the commons’ new exhibit, “Tales of Environmental Turbulence: The Common Trail of Art and Science,” 17 artists explore challenging cultural and scientific concepts.

“Art has the capacity to reveal knowledge as relational rather than academic,” says Roslye Ultan, liberal studies senior faculty and curator of the exhibit. “Art brings an emotional dimension to science and environmental issues that the public can relate to.”

The Last ThyacineA prime example is the Toy Totem by Tanya Gravening, a 9-foot totem pole adorned with bright-colored plastic dolls, animals and other kids’ toys. “Toy Totem stands as a reminder that seemingly innocent commodities…can cause considerable environmental damage, from manufacturing to disposal,” says Gravening.

Sean Connaughty’s Europa Module is a not-too-attractive floating curiosity until the viewer gets in close, where the art is revealed. “Sean’s white orb has been an audience surprise,” says Ultan.” You have to be careful not to rely on your first impression. You have to look deeper to get the real meaning.” Oil Spill V

Fifty-one works of mixed media, sculpture and painting will be on display through Jan. 6, 2014. As part of the exhibition, IonE will host a round-table discussion Nov. 7 in St. Paul featuring Ultan; Lewis Gilbert, University of Minnesota Institute on the Environment managing director; Peter Reich, Regents professor of forest resources; Sean Connaughty, artist and lecturer, Regis Center for Art; and Jonee K. Brigham, research coordinator, Center for Sustainable Building Research. Reich is with the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences, and Brigham is with the College of Design.

Tales of Environmental Turbulence is the culmination of an IonE mini grant-funded project called Conversation-E: Science + Art in Dialogue and Service to Sustainability. Artists, writers and scientists gathered for a workshop at the site of the B4Warmed experiment, which explores boreal ecosystem responses to climate warming, at the University’s Cloquet Forestry Center. The challenge of Conversation-E, says Ultan, was for artists to express their understanding of environmental change while connecting the public to the work in Cloquet.

“I’m pleased to see that the arts have a voice in social issues,” says Ultan. “It’s important to recognize that artists do not live apart in a rarified world. Their art is not just about their own feelings. They are aware of critical issues.”

The exhibit and round table are free and open to the campus community and the general public.

Call or email for more info: 612-626-9553 / ione@umn.edu