Most people don't see a ready correlation between art and physics. But for local artist and curator Laura BenAmots, the two fields share the common journey of problem-solving, and fit together pieces of the human existence.
Inspired by Leonard Shlain's 1993 book, Art & Physics: Parallel Visions in Space, Time & Light, BenAmots dreamt of curating an exhibit that explored the relationship between physics and art long before her appointment as director of the Pikes Peak Community College Downtown Studio Gallery eight months ago.
From the painted geometrical symphony of local artist Jay Miller to the industrial scenes of Wyoming's David Jones, PPCC's new exhibit, ARITHMaTIC Visions: Physics Engineering Art, fulfills her vision.
The show amalgamates elaborate sculpture, paintings and metalwork around the "beautiful and unexpected parallels between the divergent fields," says BenAmots, "and how each is really just trying to make sense of the universe."
In the selection of the artists, the 47-year-old BenAmots tried to include not just those whose correlation between their art and science is obvious for instance, Alicia Bailey's piece "Alchemy Mounds" includes a series called Secernere, based on an ancient alchemist's alphabet but those whose correlations are more subtle and "absolutely surprising."
One artist who created original work for the show is Steve Lynch, a local metalsmith whose iron sculptures create an incandescent physical presence, coupling an ethereal delicacy with a majestic sense of balance.
"It's easy for me because, as a metal sculptor, all the work I do is physics," Lynch says.
Bailey, of Aurora, compares her practice of book-making as complex problem-solving: "A lot of ingredients have to be gathered in a cohesive whole, the presentation of the text, etc."
Just as physicists break down nature to analyze the relationship of its parts, Bailey juxtaposes written word, images and textures to scrutinize their relationship and how they play on the collective aesthetic.
Laura BenAmots' aims for ARITHMaTIC Visions to be the first of several exhibits following this theme at PPCC, with the second tentatively scheduled for 2010.
"It is always exciting to discover new links between the world of the visual artist and other elements of the human experience," she says. "Each time you have an original idea, you are taken down new paths of resolution."