MOSCOW — Many scientific researchers know that there are few people outside their circles who understand the implications of their work.The art exhibit “Visualizing Science,” on display through April 15 at the University of Idaho Prichard Art Gallery, attempts to bridge that gap. Eight artists paired with seven scientists to learn about their work and then channel the information through their artistic imaginations.
Research into climate change and agriculture takes shape as a cloud of aphids cut from diaphanous ribbon. Polynomial math equations manifest as layers of color. A sculptor makes studies of the human eye larger than life
with ceramic eyeballs and retinal nerves 6 feet long.
All the artists and scientists are University of Idaho faculty brought together by a UI grant from the Vandal Ideas Project to stimulate interdisciplinary work.
“Scientists are pretty interested in communicating how they do what they do. If art is effective at communicating that, they’re interested,” said Sally Machlis, an artist who co-investigated the project with Roger Rowley, gallery director.
The point of the exhibit was not to visualize data but to interpret it in an artistic way, said Machlis, a professor of art education and art and design.
Artists can present information in a different way than scientists are used to,” Rowley said.
Art could be one way to make scientific information more accessible in a time when the validity of scientific fact is being called into question, he said.
“If people aren’t interested in facts, maybe we communicate on a more emotional level,” Machlis said.