I have made 2 separate bodies of work for this show. Supported by a Wellcome Trust People Award for ‘Beautiful Science’
"Natural Killers" was made in collaboration with Dr Alice Brown
"Lensless Molecular" was made in collaboration with Dr Rhiannon Holmes White.
Beautiful Science is a collaboration between 12 Imperial College scientists with artists from many different disciplines, each working to the same brief, is their beauty in raw scientific data? Can it be Beautiful Science?
The archetypal scientist, rational, white-coated, methodical, is generally thought to work in non-creative linear ways, while the archetypal artist, emotional, impulsive and unconventional, holds the monopoly on what is ‘creative’. But both ways of working rely on creativity and method, and both produce visual outcomes that reveal something about human perception of the world.
Supported by Imperial College as well as by a Wellcome Trust People Award ‘Beautiful Science’ presents images and original data drawn from the research of Imperial College scientists alongside artists’ interpretation of this information.
By bringing these laboratory images into the gallery, the exhibition becomes an experiment that encourages visitors to consider whether science can, in fact, be considered in the same terms and context as art. ‘My research has always tended towards preparing high quality images that represent a scientific fact. I have always been interested in the aesthetics of the images produced’, says Dr Alice Brown, a post-doc at Imperial researching immunology.
The scientific data on display encompasses photography of worlds invisible to the naked eye and the graphs, charts and records that are part and parcel of scientific practice. The artworks range across media, encompassing film, photography, painting and design. The relationship between the raw data and artistic interpretation vary across a spectrum from literal and direct engagement to highly abstract, evocative works that bear only the echo of scientific inspiration. Biologist Martin Spitaler, who runs the light microscopy facility at Imperial, says of his participation, "I hope this initiative will manage to make science accessible to the world outside, through the pure beauty of its images, through a glimpse at these wonderful hidden worlds, through interaction with more familiar forms of art."
Jo Bradford’s work blends photography with painting and printmaking, using lensless media such as luminograms and photograms. Her work has been exhibited widely in the UK and US and she has been artist in residence at Plymouth College of Art and Design as well as benefitting from an Arts Council Creative Development grant. In 2011 one of Jo’s meteorite photographs was launched aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour as part of ‘Flux Face in Space’ celebrating the space shuttle programme. Jo’s direct photographic method in her project ‘Lenseless Molecular’ stays close to the source, adding one layer of interaction between data and artwork.