Visual art exhibitions and events with a platform for critical writing
Q Arts, Derby
15 January 26 February
Reviewed by: Cassandra Thompson »
Truth and Beauty juxtaposes selected images from the 2002 Biomedical Photography Awards alongside the work of contemporary artists and filmmakers who have been inspired by scientific ideas and imagery. The resulting exhibition explores the twin themes of truth and beauty, posing the question: Where does the objective recording of scientific data end and the intervention of a subjective aesthetic begin? What the works have in common is an instant aesthetic appeal intense luminosity of colour, complex and harmonious patterns, beautifully intricate forms and textures. Scientists render the most unfathomable and hidden of lifes processes visible and captivating to the viewer.
The intention of Truth and Beauty is to explore the symbiotic relationship between the contemporary arts and biomedical science. Although occupying a larger space, the artists work almost seems superfluous to the message of this exhibition the biomedical photographs themselves raise questions of where the boundaries between art and science lie in such a clear and concise way that I was left wondering what the artworks actually add to the debate. The artists explore this relationship in different ways: Heather Barnetts Cultured Colonies uses biomedical techniques and materials to create a series of glowing footprints across the gallery floor. These strangely eerie images were made by photographing colonies of micro-organisms cultivated by placing clean feet on microbiological agar jelly. Tracey Hollands installation Vessel runs virtually the whole length of the gallery, comprising a series of brightly-lit photographic tableaux of arranged biological elements and scientific gadgetry: an egg, weighing scales, a feather, a lizard shedding its skin, fungi, and piles of fleshy organs, sitting on a background of cells, spermatozoa and blood corpuscles. The overall effect is one of wondrous alchemical transmutation.
Although the work of the artists is undoubtedly striking, it is the biomedical photography that truly dazzles here. The intervention of the human as the selector, the mediator between image and viewer, ensures that these images transcend raw, informative data to become aesthetic objects in their own right, with life and value outside the scientific arena.
Derby QUAD »
35/36 Queen Street, Derby DE1 3DS
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