My interest and learning in art and design has been with me all my life, for me it was a creative and visual learning through practice. Science on the other hand has always been an interest though from a young age I found it difficult to concentrate on the text for longer than a sentence. My mind would wander off onto more elaborate ideas.
The visual stimulus was not there for me. Over time and the new development tools of learning I found ways to enjoy the studying of this subject.
I always kept abreast of news in science and then the advent of new media like Youtube, Podcasting, audio books and so on made it accessible to me in a format I could consume.
Whilst painting I listen to various types of educational audio on the subject I am concerned with. I sometimes pause this audio and then sketch out what I think the next step will be. I then hit play and continue the audio to see if it unfolds like I expected.
This process keeps me engaged and can throw up some questions for myself especially in the field of physics. My ideas can lean towards the realm of meta-physics, which as an artist, I am comfortable with.
I enjoy posing myself the questions science has posed and work through it visually. Sometimes this is annotations based on historical findings up to that point.
The process in itself can throw up ideas and I am under no illusion that it will be an answer but when working collaboratively with other field professionals it can hopefully create new lines of inquiry.
Note : This is an excerpt from a submission for the SciArt initiative in New York.
“Culture of contamination”
To spread and spoil are two human effects of survival borne from our pre-programmed evolutionary fears.
Throughout history our means of survival have changed but the effects stay the same and consistently scale up. Contamination of mind, body and environments manifests itself in various ways and has become integrated into our lives and made to seem normal, beyond the control of ourselves.
My work seeks to investigate through visual relationships the means to intervene into the conceptions/perceptions of our normality. Moreover, our way of thinking. To plant a seed in the subconscious that propagates new ideas and conversation that will help slowly consolidate our contamination.
As part of this process I investigate problems that have arisen in science, questions that we do not know the answers to or how the question can be changed. Through research as a basis, imagination, the subconscious and attempting to think beyond our perception what I create are paintings that reflect these inner seemingly strange thoughts, they invoke inquiry and conversation.
The conversation maybe more important than the piece, it is dialogue. There may come a time where a painting produces, from somewhere, a seed of an answer.
Much of my daily thought is based upon my perception of my functioning reality but my inner thoughts when painting are quite different, they search everywhere, and I need an outlet for them. The questions posed give meaning and purpose to my work whilst my research slowly builds my knowledge of the many disciplines that would be involved in creating a tangible shift in thinking.
The Sci Art initiative exhibition "Culture of Contamination" was due to be on view at the New York Hall of Science (NYSCI) in September 2020. Due to the COVID pandemic the exhibition is now going virtual.
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By Rian Hotton