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 a stunning exhibition curated by The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) 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 works from the spectra series, from 2018, are being exhibited for the first time. An expression of both the patterns of the natural world and the metaphors underlying modern science, his art allows us to see beauty in the repulsive, to find knowledge in the unknown, and to observe the unseen to more clearly see our world. By exploring the invisible, Rasch invites the observer to look beyond the “seen” to appreciate the beauty and mystery of the “unseen.”
Rasch transforms scientific images from radio astronomy, electron microscopy, particle accelerators and individual element’s spectrum, discovering their underlying patterns and working with color and design to create work that is both representational and abstract. Rasch edits and transforms the scientists’ images, yet his images remain representative of what the scientist would see and recognize. The scale of the actual images contrasts with the size of the artwork: the biological and physics images are massively enlarged and the astronomical images are equally drastically reduced. The goal is to bring the images to a more human scale so that the viewer can relate to the real elements that make up our world and universe. The artist incorporates gold in many of his works. This is drawn from medieval paintings in which artists painted religious figures with gold halos or utilized a gold background. For Rasch, the gold symbolizes science taking over from religion as the explanation for why things are the way they are. He utilizes a variety of techniques and media, including oil, acrylic paint, pastels, colored pencil and pen/ink.
Rasch studied at the Arts Students’ League of New York and The School of Visual Arts in New York. His work has appeared in solo and group exhibitions at American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), Washington, DC; Katonah Museum of Art, Artists' Association - Northern Westchester Hospital, Mount Kisco, NY; CONRAD New York Hotel, NYC; Sideshow Gallery, Brooklyn NY; Katonah Museum of Art, Artists' Association, Katonah NY; Rush Arts Gallery, NYC; Jackson Hall Art Gallery, NYC; Lana Santorelli Gallery, NYC; Columbia University, NYC; Space on White Gallery, NYC; Brenda Taylor Gallery, Verge, Miami, FL; Pfizer (Solo Show), NYC; Gallery Oms (Solo Show), Fort Lee, NJ; Upstream Gallery, Dobbs Ferry, NY; Mamaroneck Artists Guild, Mamaroneck, NY; Hank Baum Gallery, San Francisco, CA; Salon West 3, NYC; Salmagundi Club, NYC. Rasch’s work is in private and corporate collections, including the Pfizer Corporation in New York and Colonial Penn Insurance Company in Philadelphia.