Exploring Relationships: The Art of Science
Advisor: Victoria Star Varner, Professor of Art
The art exhibition Muskara et al. (2020) presents a body of work that blurs the division between the fields of art and science. Comprised of large realistic and minimalist-inspired paintings aimed at amplifying the molecular components of objects, this series questions the connections between scientific exploration and the expressive, conceptual aims of art. Whereas the work in this series appears to be created with traditional painting materials, foreign matter was incorporated into the paint, which calls into question the meaning of the pieces presented. For example, the painting Pomacea maculata physically contains copper sulfate which is a substance that in reality kills the very object represented in the painting, the apple snail. Artworks like the diptych Pomacea maculata and Copper Sulfate aim to question concepts of what is “real” (copper sulfate, paint, canvas) versus “illusionistic” (centuries of art mimetic traditions) versus “abstract” (the abstract shortcuts the sciences use to demonstrate concepts like chemical structures) to ignite conversations between the relatively uncorrelated fields of art and science.