An art exhibition that fuses scientific knowledge with creative inspiration is set to open later this month in Albany.
Immerse will feature artworks by 20 MIX Artists from the Great Southern that showcase a unique art-science collaboration between contemporary artists and marine scientists working in the region.
The waters of the south coast and around Albany are well known for their unique diversity of plants and animals, as well as their productivity, and the works will convey important marine science knowledge and current research from the region to a broad audience.
The Western Australian Marine Science Institution coordinated opportunities for the MIX Artists to learn from marine scientists, through talks and presentations, provision of resources and engagement with marine science students from The University of Western Australia during a field trip. The artists also followed up with ongoing self-research and observation of their environment.
Dr Jenny Shaw, WAMSI Research Director, said it had been particularly interesting to observe how the artists were interpreting their local marine environment.
“It’s been a great opportunity to move science into the community and also see different interpretations of marine research topics,” Dr Jenny Shaw, WAMSI
“The scientists benefit from explaining their work to different audiences and the interest from the artists has been incredibly high, contributing to a shared appreciation for the marine environment.”
The interaction between artists and scientists and the resulting creative process has been well documented and will enable the exhibition audience to learn more about the art-science collaboration.
MIX Artist coordinator Annette Davis said the collaboration had given the MIX Artists fantastic insight into another world and engagement with the scientists have been fundamental as to how the artworks had developed.
“Responding with intuition, curiosity, and imagination, the artists have interpreted their findings through chosen materials and techniques and created individual artworks to help move this understanding into the wider community,” Ms Davis said.
Topics that have inspired the artworks centre around the finely balanced coastal environment and the impact of structural change, such as the threats of plastic pollution and rising sea levels, but also include an emphasis on restoration methods to protect the marine environment.
The pursuit of marine science has inspired some artists. Catherine Higham has used seagrass and seaweed, on a structure made from willow and bamboo, to make a large-scale listening horn to listen to underwater life. Another artist used the shapes of scuba diving equipment and scientific data to create a ‘newly discovered’ sea creature, named Scubadeepus data-analyticae, in homage to marine scientists.
Christine Baker’s work, titled Micro Plastic Menu, was inspired by a talk on microplastic contamination in the ocean by UWA’s Dr Harriet Paterson and how it can potentially be transferred through marine food chains.
Immerse will run at the Albany Town Hall from Friday 21 January until Saturday 25 February. Artists and scientists will talk about the process of this project at a special free event titled Dive In on Saturday 4 February in the Town Hall auditorium.
After being shown in Albany, the exhibition will tour to the Collie Art Gallery, where it will run from 6 May to 11 June.
More information is available here: http://www.mixartists.org/immerse.html