Atlanta-based visual artist Amie Esslinger creates abstract yet exquisitely detailed biomorphs using a variety of material and electrifying colour palettes. Inspired by microbiology, her paintings and almost architectural installations invite us into the microcosmos to ponder our hidden biology and confront our understanding of complexity.
Equally accomplished as a painter, sculptor, ceramist, and textile artist, Esslinger uses a multitudinous array of material to turn cellular organisms into titanic beings. From acrylic, paint, ink, paper, foam, canvas, felt, and wood to polymer clay, burnt elk leather, false eyelashes, magnifying lenses, artificial sinew, copper crimps, mica glitter and more; anything is up for experimentation.
Ten of her works are currently on view in her solo exhibition, The Immeasurable Space. Presented in the LAMINAproject Online Viewing Room on Artsy, the digital gallery is accessible through May 31, 2021.
In this interview with Art the Science, Esslinger discusses the thoughtful and playful processes behind her biomorphs, how microbiology fascinates her, and the evolution of her work.
Which came first in your life, the science or the art?
Art came first. I grew up in an artist household with two working artist parents and we lived on twenty one acres boxed in by a national forest. I had the encouragement to be creative and the freedom and space to explore the many branches of creek and forest around me. I had access to a generous book collection with tons of reference books on animals and plant life. My first biological sketches came from the Audubon books on sea life. Later, I didn’t think twice about going to art school. Finding interdisciplinary courses that married art practice with environmental studies helped me to fully integrate science into my work.
The concept of life thriving and adapting under extreme conditions resonates with Atlanta-based artist Amie Esslinger. Her painting “Hydro Vents and Other Difficult Places” appears as this month’s cover art.
Amie Esslinger works in the space nudged between art, research and science with the end result being mind-blowingly beautiful. This year, Esslinger is the winner of the Antinori Visual Artist Grant. Our interview with Amy covers travel, materials used in art and the current climate for artists like herself.
Joyce Yamada is a Brooklyn-based artist working in both painting and multi-media installation. An intuitive painter using complex imagery, she is profoundly interested in science, ecology, and the environment. She probes the relationship between humans and nature, the deep history of life on earth, and our possible futures.
Painter Joyce Yamada grew up on the west coast. She spent her childhood vacations in the beautiful national parks of the US and Canada where pristine forests and the Pacific coast were imprinted in her visual memory. She recalls that although as a teenager she realized that art is her task in life, struggling to survive by minimum wage work led her to medical school which she completed and then subsequently became a diagnostic radiologist. This science background has fed her mind and artwork ever since. Yamada says she is a painter because she conceptualizes in images rather than in words — “when puzzled, my mind juxtaposes or fuses unexpected images, often leading to new work,” she says. For instance, an early series, Body, Earth, came to her in art school — while looking at the hills across the bay from San Francisco she saw the low rounded hills as the reclining body of a woman. The juxtaposed imagery meant to her that we are intimately and indivisibly part of earth and of nature, that what we do to the earth we do to ourselves. She has subsequently seen this idea expressed in indigenous cultures, and it became central in her work.
Pairings in art are rarely as inspired as seeing the works of Mark Pomilio and He Gong in the same room. The Mesa Contemporary Art Museum (MCA) brings together two painters with distinguished careers who have had radically different experiences in life and come from counter-distinct artistic traditions. While the deep resonances between these two might not be readily apparent to the causal viewer, what they have in common illuminates the works in this exhibition that much more poignantly.
The top works—and our favorites—range from interactive pieces to a pen-and-paper drawing.
By Karen Kwon, Liz Tormes on July 23, 2020
As a chemist and artist, I experiment with expressing environmental concerns on the most basic molecular levels. Using microscopes and collaborative laboratory data, I focus on the stress on DNA and proteins in the changing environment. Collaborating with scientists, I create art based on specific scientific models.
Although art and science might be viewed as diametrically opposite, artists and scientists seek answers to the same fundamental questions, trying to understand and visualize the invisible and what it means to be human. Some of the most innovative artists working today are fusing art and science, taking inspiration from science and using scientific techniques in their work. A compelling exhibition at Weill Cornell Medicine’s Samuel J. Wood Library in New York, entitled Seeing Within: Art Inspired by Science, features the work of Jody Rasch, Cheryl Safran, and Julia Buntaine Hoel who use the visual language and findings of biology to create artwork that invites viewers to explore and appreciate the beauty and mystery of biology.
Artist and chemist Michal Gavish wants viewers to consider the complexity and fragility of humans’ inner biology. In her 3-D drawing and painting installations, she magnifies imagery of DNA and protein structures to a human scale. She also introduces color, giving a new presence to living formations that are invisible to the naked eye.
Self-taught artist Shanthi Chandrasekar says curiosity has been the driving force behind her art, a combination of “scientific fact and theories with my wild imagination.” With a background in both physics and psychology, Chandrasekar has branched into different kinds of art, including drawing, printmaking, papermaking, photography, sculpture, and traditional Kolam drawings. Many of these skills are currently on display in Fermilab’s art gallery, where Chandrasekar’s exhibit, “Cosmic Design,” runs through Oct. 31.
Here Chandrasekar breaks down some of the inspiration, concepts, and thought processes behind 10 of the works from “Cosmic Design.”
BUSHWICK/BED-STUY – Arts in Bushwick hosted the 13th annual Bushwick Open Studios over the weekend, welcoming the public into the workspaces of more than 200 artists in and around the neighborhood.
Bklyner visited the studios of nine local artists. Check out their work below and read their thoughts on working in the area and participating in the 2019 Bushwick Open Studios.
In Atlanta, The David J. Sencer CDC Museum’s new exhibition--The World Unseen: Intersections of Art and Science—gathers the work of ten international artists who draw upon microbiology, biotechnology, anatomy, and texts in their investigations of microbes and cells, DNA, history of disease and science, the body, and beauty.
Images from electron microscopy, particle accelerators, and radio astronomy are beautifully transformed in sciartist Jody Rasch’s vibrant works. Some of his latest pieces are on view for the first time in Duality: Art + Science, an exhibit curated by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) as part of its Art of Science and Technology Program. The show is on view until February 1, 2019 at the AAAS’s gallery space in Washington, DC.
The paintings and drawings in “Duality: Art and Science” are clearly handmade, yet are inspired by things glimpsed through machines, notably microscopes and radio telescopes. As interpreted by New York’s Jody Rasch and the District’s Betsy Stewart, the phenomena celebrated in the American Association for the Advancement of Science show appear similar in form, whether they’re massive or microscopic in actuality. They lose their original scale and, in some cases, their menace.
Duality–abstraction and representation, the literal and the metaphorical, science and mysticism, the unseen and the seen–is a predominant theme in New York artist Jody Rasch’s work, which is explored in Duality: Art + Science, a stunning exhibition curated by The American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington, DC as part of its Art of Science and Technology Program. The exhibition also features work by Betsy Stewart and is on view through February 1, 2019 in the gallery space at AAAS’s headquarters. Rasch uses science images to look beyond what we see in the macro world of our daily lives and challenges us to explore the world around us, question our world-view and how we react to information. Duality: Art + Science presents paintings and drawings inspired by astronomy, biology, physics and spectra.
The American Association For the Advancement of Science has put on an art show featuring the works of Betsy Stewart and Jody Rasch called Duality: Art+Science. I was honored to be asked to install the show at the AAAS Headquarters Gallery in Washington DC. The show runs from November 2, 2018, to Feb 1, 2019.
Jody Rasch is a New York-based artist who explores the duality of nature through scientifically influenced abstractions. Exploring both the seen and the unseen, his paintings are otherworldly and atmospheric, having one foot in the material and one in the compexly unreal. He has been exhibiting for over 25 years, and is affiliated with the Art & Science Collaborations, Inc., (ASCI) and The New York Academy of Sciences.