“Neither science nor the arts can be complete without combining their separate strengths.” Such is the tenet (termed “consilience”) behind the Consilience of Art and Science exhibition, to be held at the Pence Gallery from Jan. 14 to February 2011. The gallery encourages students of both art and science to submit work that combines elements of these two fields.
The deadline for submissions is Dec. 15. A reception and award ceremony will be held on Jan. 14 from 6 to 9 p.m., and cash prizes may be given out at the discretion of the jury.
Juried by UC Davis faculty members Diane Ullman and James Housefield, it is open to all artists and scientists.
“It can’t just be a painting of a flower – it has to be about the merging of the two fields. For this reason, we ask for an artist’s statement,” said Natalie Nelson, Pence Gallery director and curator of the exhibit.
The idea for the exhibition stemmed from the success of the first Consilience of Art and Science, organized in 2008 and 2009 by the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion program. This juried exhibit drew excellent speakers, culminating in an exhibit at the Pence Gallery. Due to the popularity of the first exhibit, the Consilience was invited to do another exhibition at the Pence in January 2011.
“I am very excited to do the exhibit on a larger scale than in 2009 when we had our first exhibit on the theme, as it’s in our bigger gallery space, and the work is always fascinating and somewhat nontraditional,” Nelson said.
UC Davis entomology professor and juror of the exhibition Diane Ullman spoke about the notion of consilience, explaining that it entails the blending of substances from different disciplines to create a broader theory. Fifty years ago, Sir Charles Percy Snow attributed many of the world’s problems to miscommunication between art culture and the field of science.
The two disciplines had been declared disparate fields, when in fact the abstract and the logical are inextricably linked. Still, the solidified boundaries have been set in place by institutions for countless years. Such boundaries are, in the words of E. O. Wilson, “not reflections of the real world but artifacts of scholarship.”
William Whewell introduced the term “consilience” in 1840, and it was brought in to the modern lexicon by E. O. Wilson in his highly acclaimed book, Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge.
Art studio professor Matthias Geiger highlighted the importance of intersectionality between the two mediums.
“It is at the university, a place where rationality, the mind and the sciences are celebrated, where we are in need of a good dose of enchantment, play, free creativity and self-exploration,” Matthias said. “I see art as a vehicle to transport academic research into these territories.”
Pence’s best attended event of the year, the first Consilience of Art and Science was held in March 2009 and received radiant feedback from the print media in the greater Sacramento region.
“We anticipate the 2011 exhibition to be just as exciting and innovative,” Ullman said.
Artists can submit up to three digital images of art. The art can take 2D or 3D form and must not exceed 50 pounds. It must also be pre-wired. For more information on the exhibition and how to submit work, go to pencegallery.org.
ELENI STEPHANIDES can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org