This week’s blog is written by Carl Sandeen of Kristi Usher Fine Art. Carl’s wife Kristi is a bronze sculptor of western themes as well as a two-dimensional artist with oil, pencil and ink. Kristi's work is known for realism and projects her intimate knowledge of horses, dogs and the cowboy way of life.
Attending an event at Sitka Center for Art and Ecology in Otis, Oregon I was enjoying the presentations of several artists. Sitka Center, as part of its mission, provides artist residencies; and this was the conclusion when artists talk about what they have accomplished during their stay on secluded Cascade Head. Kindra Crick was one of the presenters. Her last name intrigued me as she introduced herself as a molecular biologist, and artist, who loved science but was also inspired by her grandmother to pursue art. As Kindra began clicking through her PowerPoint slides, she soon mentioned that her grandfather, Francis Crick, was the Nobel winner who had worked on the structure of DNA. And his artist wife, Odile, first drew the DNA double helix. To this day, Odile Crick's artistic concept of DNA still visually represents DNA's molecular structure.
Smitten by Kindra's story, I listened intently as she concluded her presentation focusing on a neuroscience inspired artwork installation, in collaboration with U of O Health Sciences University, called Cerebral Wilderness. She, as was her grandmother, is using art to promote the understanding of science. Kindra is often quoted as saying, "Artwork gives visual expression to the wonder and process of scientific inquiry and discovery."
And it's not an isolated concept. Quoting Stanford University, "There is growing interest in the intersection of art and science, whether from artists adapting technology to suit their visions or from scientists and engineers seeking to explain various visual effects. To take advantage of possible creative sparks at the art/science interface, it is necessary for fuzzies and techies to have some knowledge of the language used by the other side. This interface will be explored through examining approaches used by an artist and an engineer in the context of the materials science of cultural objects."
So now I look for opportunities to discover and contemplate these ideas and understand them better. Recently at a Fishtrap event exploring Native American, environmental and cultural topics at the Josephy Center for Arts and Culture in Joseph, Oregon, the topic of art and science intersecting came up often. At Artistic Portland I look around at works on display, talk to folks browsing in the store; and have a growing sense that art, my friends creating artwork, can through their creative efforts help change the world.
Be sure to visit Artistic Portland to see Kristi Usher's beautiful fine art sculptures! We are open Monday through Saturday from 10 am to 6 pm and Sunday from noon until 5 pm.