Art and science may seem like oil and water – could two disciplines be more different? Yet the bringing together of these seemingly disparate disciplines is an initiative set to be fostered by S+ART, a concept recently launched in Palmerston North City to promote the convergence of science, technology and art.
Perhaps the most famous embodiment of an interdisciplinary approach is the archetypal Renaissance man, Leonardo da Vinci. Most renowned for painting the Mona Lisa, da Vinci was also a gifted scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist and cartographer. Unconstrained by concepts of disciplinary boundaries, da Vinci was free to forge new frontiers of creativity and invention, which even 500 years later continue to identify him as one of the world’s most forward-thinkers.
Closer to home, Professor Sir Peter Gluckman, Science Advisor to the Prime Minister, has noted “... both science and the creative arts require the talent of the mind. We have not brought these two domains together and we need to.”
Fran Dibble is an artist whose work bridges both disciplines. Dibble’s training in biochemistry and botany, and time spent in the laboratory, is a rich source of inspiration for the artist’s work. These underlying sources are sometimes apparent, sometimes barely discernable, depending on the knowledge and experience each viewer brings to her work.
With her large raindrop sculpture (titled, in this installation, With the power to move mountains and carve valleys ...), Dibble gives three dimensional expression to a shape that has fascinated the artist for many years.
“The shape of a water drop we all recognize, but this is nothing like the actual form water has when it falls (Edgerton’s famous photos of water falling and his splashes demonstrated this). Rather the droplet is like a logo or hieroglyphic, a symbol of water rather than a realistic interpretation.”
Dibble’s use of a monumental raindrop is a bridge between fact and fiction, realism and abstraction, presenting us with a form at once instantly recognizable yet scientifically implausible. This new installation marvels at the fact that water, something small and common-place, has had such grandiose effect in creating the landscape. The raindrop, scaled gigantic, is contrasted against small sand pillars with landscape tops, a juxtaposition with formalist aesthetic qualities and an easily interpreted narrative.
Thus Dibble’s installation is a contemporary outworking of both scientific knowledge and artistic perspective. Familiar forms are presented anew, challenging our preconceptions and expanding our knowledge about the world in which we live. Dibble’s installation expresses in a tangible way the very heart of what S+ART is about – a convergence of science and art, propelling new ways of viewing and understanding our world.
The wider vision of S+ART is that Palmerston North City would be an incubator of collaboration between scientists, artists and technologists – an exploratory environment, in which creative knowledge is shared and applied, and that stimulates innovation and creativity. We welcome you to S+ART the journey with us.