Thursday, September 08, 2016

The Co-mingling of Art and Science at ESU

Photography by Paparazzi Paul.

A bright and glorious day was enhanced even further as the first exhibition of the Fall 2016 Semester was presented at The East Stroudsburg University (ESU) of PA's Madelon Powers Gallery. The Artists' Reception for their Methodologies: Combining Art and Science Exhibit was held on Wednesday September 7th and featured the work of eleven artists who were invited to participate in what will be a series of special events taking place throughout the Academic year. A performance piece was presented by Sissi Fonseca during the reception along with announcements and thoughts about the show and future endeavors shared by those intimate with them.

The artists who presented their work were Karen Rich Beall of Lebanon Valley College who uses forms derived from small, often overlooked species from the natural world to create sculptures from a variety of media, Barb Bondy of Auburn University who examines the interaction between the functions of the human mind and the brain through drawing and photography, and Hugo Fortes of The University of Sao Paulo, Brazil who develops installations, photos, videos, performance, and multi-media works in which the concepts of landscape, the element water, and the relations between nature and culture are the central themes. Other artist included Yvonne Love of the Penn State University's Abington, PA campus who uses unusual materials to create spaces and forms that address experience and memory, Jocelyn Kolb who is an Assistant Professor of the art and design Department at ESU who uses current technologies and evolving materials to create forms that are inspired by nature, Jill Parisi of the State University of New York in New Paltz, NY whose works celebrate the plant and animal kingdom’s wide palette and intricate patterns, and Michelle Samour of the School of the Museum of the Fine Arts at Tufts University who is a multi-media artist whose works explore the intersections between science, technology, and the natural world.

The exhibition also includes the work of co-curators, Hannah Leah Israel and Darlene Farris-LaBar Ms. Israel is an Associate Professor of art and gallery director at Columbus State University in Georgia and is influenced by natural and cultural phenomena whose works resemble the poetic seduction found in nature in relation to the sublime. Ms. Farris-LaBar is Professor of The Art and Design Department at ESU whose work focuses on preserving various plant species of the natural world through the use of 3D digital design and printing with the intent to promote protected lands while bringing awareness about the importance of each plant species to the ecosystem in order to preserving them for future generations.

The work presented in the exhibit illustrated the enormous amount of imagination that is an intricate element in both the arts and the sciences. While the methodology to discover the answers to such questions as “What is” and “What can be” may portend seemingly different approaches by Artists and Scientist, the desire to ponder upon the questions brings a kinship to one another. The artists who participated in the exhibit inspired the many who attended to discover who they are and who they can be in all realms of humankind.

In addition to the work displayed on the gallery's walls, the Artist's Reception presented a performance piece rendered by Sissi Fonseca of the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil. A sheet encompassing a large portion of the floor laid dormant throughout the event. After the announcements and acknowledgments were given, the sheet began to move. A quietness touched the audience which led to an anticipatory silence. A single thin blade penetrated the sheet which was followed by the emergence of one hand followed by another. After a time, clumps of red hair were ejected out of the sheet and the empty hand that once held the material sought replenishments for them. Members of the audience stepped forward to contribute objects to the wanting hands which eventually led to the conclusion of the piece.

This also led to the conclusion of the Artists' Reception as the crowd began to dissipate soon after the performance. Group Photographs were taken and subsequent conversations between the artists and art lovers ensued during the remainder of the afternoon. A a special event titled “The Moth Project” created by Plantbot Genetics which was created from the collaboration between Wendy Deschene of Auburn University and Jeff Schmuki of Georgia Southern University took place after the reception outside of the University's Fine and Performing Arts Center. The project is reported to use large images of moths projected on an outdoor tent to attract local moths for audiences to observe. I had to leave the gallery to be elsewhere so I was unable to experience the phenomenon. However, you'll find more photographs taken during the Artists' Reception in The Co-mingling of Art and Science at ESU Gallery at

The Methodologies: Combining Art and Science Exhibition will continue to be on display in The Madelon Powers Gallery which is located within the campus' Fine and Performing Arts Center until October 1st. On that day, Professor Darlene Farris-LaBar will give a gallery talk and tour of the exhibit beginning at 11:30am. The next exhibition scheduled to take place in the gallery will be their Cellblock Visions: Set Free in the Penitentiary Exhibition with an Artists' Reception scheduled to be held on Thursday November 3rd beginning at 4pm. The reception will be preceded by a Curator’s talk in the center's Cecilia S. Cohen Recital Hall beginning at 3pm. The exhibit will continue to be on display in The Madelon Powers Gallery until November 22nd. Please explore The Madelon Powers Gallery Facebook Page at for more information.

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