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May 3, 2013

Breadboard Discovers the Art of the Petri Dish

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Donovan Griffin

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Last month’s Philadelphia Science Festival proved that the local arts community is no more immune to the infectious charms of Lady Science than the thousands of others who attend the festival in the hopes of learning and appreciating a bit more about her. Breadboard’s Esther Klein Gallery hosts Cellular/Molecular, an art show calling for local artists to filter their fine art experience through the kaleidoscope lenses of biology and organic chemistry.
In an environment that sometimes defines the two as mutually exclusive, the thirteen artists and curator Gaby Heit show that neither science nor art are ever too far removed from one another when perceived by the human eye.
Some of the works in the exhibition describe or attempt to define a specific scientific phenomena; others “demonstrate our accidental and natural inclination to create cellular and molecular forms”. Colin Keefe’s “Flux Atlas” (2013) gives the viewer a sense of how difficult the task of mapping out a concept in scientific notation or artistic pictorial representation actually is. The result is a Cyclopean sort of design that compels the eager eye to follow the finished product at the edges back to the darkened heart of the piece.
The brightly colored and humorously titled “Gumball Machine” (2012) by Rebecca Jacoby immediately impresses the viewer with the tightly packed and seemingly endless amount of cells that exist in just one tiny area of existence. The large, empty circles serve to highlight the infinitesimally small ones surrounding them and creating solid mass.
Sarah Steinwich’s “Heat,” made up of hand-cut paper, acrylic and mixed media, deserves a look- and a few dozen more, from different angles- first to appreciate the yellow, porous and reef-like structure beneath and then its relation with the red, blue and green lines that make up the foreground.
Although the Philadelphia Science Festival is all too brief, the Cellular/Molecular exhibition runs until June 9 and should certainly be sought out by those missing out on the creative display of science’s wonders.
Feature image: Rebecca Jacoby’s “Gumball Machine” 2012

Left: Colleen Keefe’s “Flux Atlas” (2013)

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