Monday, August 21, 2017

Eclipsed - The art of the solar eclipse through time

Howard Russell Butler (1856–1934), Solar Eclipse, Lompoc 1923. Oil on canvas.
In honour of today's solar eclipse, the first of the century visible in this part of the world, I thought I would look at some of the artistic depictions of solar eclipses through time.

I'm a fan of the elegance and humour of astronomer Katie Mack's popular eclipse tweet:

As a science-artist, I often wonder how to portray astronomy, or earth and planetary science without reproducing actual diagrams, but some have done so in delightful and artistic ways. Artistic works incorporate both actual diagrams and abstractions, from Joseph Cornell's assemblages complete with scientific ephemera, through Roy Lichtenstein's stylized pop art with a true sense of movement of the celestial bodies, capturing the 4D event on the 2D plane. The always delightful Rachel Ignotofsky incorporates some diagrams in her retelling of the life and science of underappreciated Qing Dynasty astronomer and mathematician Wang Zhenyi (1768–1797) in her fabulous book Women in Science.

Joseph Cornell (1903 – 1972), Earth Eclipse
ca. 1960
Assemblage in box: wood, glass, steel, plaster, blue sand, and photograph
12.3 x 25.5 x 8 cm

Roy Lichtenstein, Eclipse of the Sun (1975)
Rachel Ignotofsky, spread on Wang Zhenyi and how she deduced the mechanism of solar eclipses, from Women in Science

Artists throughout time and across cultures have used the image of solar eclipses to bring a hint of the eerie or supernatural to their works and eclipses are not uncommon in religious art.

Raphael (and his workshop), 1483-1520, Isaac and Rebecca Spied on by Abimelech

Yoshitoshi Taiso (1839-1892), Mount Yoshino Midnight-Moon: Iga no Tsunone, from the series One Hundred Aspects of the Moon (1885-1892), ukiyo-e woodblook print on paper
Egon Schiele, (1890-1928) Crucifixion with Darkened Sun, 1907, oil on canvas
Some more contemporary works are more evocative than direct illustions.

Diego Rivera (1886 – 1957), Portrait of Ramón Gómez de la Serna, 1915, makes reference to the poet's own mentions of eclipses and hints at the artist's own love of eclipses

Rosemarie Fiore's "Smoke Eclipse #52," 2015. Firework smoke residue on Sunray paper.

Russell Crotty's "Blue Totality," 2017. Ink and watercolor, fiberglass, plastic and tinted bio-resin on paper, 48 inches by 48 inches by 1 inch
Many of these works benefited from the artists' own observations of actual eclipses and art historians can often tie works to recent eclipses in a given region. There are also wonderful images created as science communication, to literally depict events for research or teaching purposes. Princeton University has a wonderful exhibit website for the scientific illustration eclipse paintings of Howard Russell Butler (1856–1934). The site brought my attention to many of the works here and you should view and read more context there.

Adolf Fassbender (1884-1980), Sun's Total Eclipse, 1925, Gelatin silver print
William Langenheim (1807–1874)Eclipse of the Sun, 1854. Daguerreotypes, from 1 1/4 x 1 in. (3.2 x 2.5 cm) to 2 13/16 x 2 5/16 in. (7.2 x 5.9 cm). First known photographs of a solar eclipse

Illustration from Der Mond, 1876 by James Nasmyth and James Carpenter

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Love All Bodies Art Show Opening August 19th at Toronto Etsy Street Team Gallery

Come join us this Saturday, August 19th, from 6:00 to 9:00 for the Opening of the Love All Bodies Show. This show celebrates all human bodies and features new work from artists in various media including drawing, photography, printmaking, multimedia, textile art, and bronze sculpture. Guest curator Rebecca Rose Vaughan writes, "This exhibition aims to bring together a diverse and inclusive representation of all bodies through intersectional, body positive, progressive, and political work. ALL bodies deserve space and positive representation. We aim to create space to represent people that are particularly subject to systems of oppression and discrimination because their bodies are different. We highly encourage all POC, genderqueer, female identifying, trans persons, those with disabilities and queer people, to submit. Let us create new conversations about what it means to love our bodies specifically in a society where most are taught not to."

EVENT PAGE: Love All Bodies Art Show Opening

Find works by:

Tara Holtom

Carly Whitmore
Lesia Miga

Yahn Nemirovsky
Rron Maloku

Amarina Norris & Ron Caddigan
Sharon Hafner

Stephanie Venerus
Rebecca Rose Vaughan

Ele Willoughby

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Found Wood Assemblage Earth and Planetary Science
Veneer Theory, Ron van der Ende, 2014. Bas-relief in salvaged wood, 60″ x 61″ x 6″.

Dutch artist Ron van der Ende wanders the streets of Rotterdam, salvaging unwanted wood to make, amongst other delightful, enormous multimedia works, wood assemblages like giant diagrams of our Earth, celestial bodies and geological cross-sections.
Europa, Ron van der Ende, 2015. Bas-relief in salvaged wood, 168 x 168 x 14cm
Volcano (Moses and Geology), Ron van der Ende, 2012, Bas-relief in salvaged wood,  229 x 152 x 12cm
Watershed (Yosemite), Ron van der Ender, 2013, Bas-relief in salvaged wood, 180 x 200 x 12cm.
Don't miss his portfolio, where you'll also find minerals, gems, spaceships and more.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Insect as Canvas, Real and Imaginary

Yesterday I encountered the work of two different artists using insects as a medium onto which they are building their art.

Japanese artist Akihiro Higuchi (also here) has created works like traditional Japanese lacquerware on beetles and painted on moths in patterns reminiscent of traditional Japanese-style Nihonga painting, Japanese washi papers as well as more kitschy vintage cartoon illustrations.

Akihiro Higuchi,

"MITATE - urushi" Hideyoshi Toyotomi - Hanbei Takenaka, 2015

Stag beetle specimen, Japanese lacquer, gold dust, silver dust, mixed media
25 x 20 x 6 cm
Akihiro Higuchi,

"MITATE - urushi" Mitsuari Ishida - Sakon Shima, 2015

Stag beetle specimen, Japanese lacquer, gold dust, silver dust, mixed media
25 x 20 x 6 cm
Akihiro Higuchi,

Meanwhile, UK illustrator Richard Wilkinson has a series of digital illustrations, so realistic in flavour they (at least at first glance) appear to be painted on insects. They are in fact imaginary insects which resemble pop icons. His delightful collection "Arthropoda Iconicus: Invertebrates From A Far Away Galaxy" allude to Star Wars of course. He expects the book to be released this fall.

Richard Wilkinson, 'Dokk volgatus'

Richard Wilkinson, 'Regio Tutanamentum'

Richard Wilkinson, 'Roboduobus Duoduobus'
I love the intersection of art, entomology, culture and the imagination and how each of these artists are bringing their own cultural touchstones to the medium of insect decoration.

Compare this with where entomology meets fashion.

Friday, May 12, 2017

WUNDERKAMMER: The Cabinet of Curiosity Show

I'm very excited to have curated the Toronto Etsy Street Team Gallery's first group art show, WUNDERKAMMER: The Cabinet of Curiosities from May 11 to 28. This art - or science art - show, is inspired by the Wunderkammer or Cabinet of Curiosity, the immense, eccentric, encyclopedic natural history collections gathered by collectors since the Renaissance. Cabinets of Curiosities featured treasured zoological, botanical, anatomical, fossil and gem specimen, collected by early citizen scientists. WUNDERKAMMER features original sculptures, drawings, hand-bound books, prints, paintings, printmaking, ceramics, jewellery, generative and multimedia specimen of natural and unnatural history on all scales, from the microscopic to the macroscopic. We are featuring the work of local artists (myself included):

István Aggott Hönsch

Erin Candela
Gavin Canning

Andrée Chénier
Carolyn Eady

Leslie Fruman
Monika Millar

Heather Ibbott
Colleen Manestar

Peggy Muddles
Teodora Opris

Christine Strait-Gardner
Tosca Teran

Rovena Tey
Lauren Vartanian

Ele Willoughby

Explore our curiousity cabinet of wildlife biology, mathematics, chemistry, mycology, micro and cellular biology, marine biology, entomology, botany, and fantastical lifeforms through the lens of art.

Join us Saturday, May 13, 6:00 pm to 10:00 for our Opening! FOLLOW THE LINK TO RSVP

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Pi in the sky

Today we celebrate π day, because (non-metric) Americans write the date 3/14, like the first three digits of the digital expansion of the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. Enjoy with some mathy Kate Bush and yet another incredible math-art work about pi by Martin Krzywinski. This year he's translated the 12,000,000 digits of Pi into star charts (by taking blocks of 12 digits and using them as latitude, longitude and azimuth). Then he's selected 80 constellations from these imagined stars and named them after extinct plants and animals. Find more here!

Martin Krzywinski's 2017 Pi Day Star Chart Carree Projection



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