When The Arts Honour Life Sciences

The more exposure people have to the various life sciences, such as biology, botany and zoology, the more they come to realize their importance and influence. When artists make it a point to honour the life sciences, there can be very powerful results. After all, art speaks to us as humans in a way many other media simply cannot communicate. It touches us on a deeper level and promotes understanding and interest.

For example, you may have felt relaxed simply by looking at paintings that depict environmental features such as coastlines, forests or biomes. Artists also frequently investigate and portray the relationships between humanity and the natural world.

Here are a couple more specific recent examples of art combining with life sciences that had some beautiful, powerful results.

Italian Artist Andreco’s Recent Work

Andreco has gained a sizable following as an artist in Italy, but is also an environmental engineer. Therefore, a lot of his art has clear influences from his scientific research on sustainability and green infrastructure.

Many of Andreco’s pieces work in natural elements to help add another point of view to the piece. While he’s certainly not the only environmental artist, his art differs from that of his peers because he uses up-to-date scientific research as the basis for a lot of his work. A few examples:

  • Green Man: A person made out of plants that purifies air polluted by people.
  • The Philosophical Tree: A painting in Bologna that uses photocataylitic paint to treat NOx.
  • PCB wall painting: A polychlorinated biphenyl wall painting in Brescia, which is the site of a large PCB contamination in the water and soil.
  • Fern project: An installation made out of ferns that demonstrates how they can remove metal pollutants from soils.

Andreco’s work has been seen in museums, gardens and public spaces all over Italy, and leaves an impression on all those who see it.

Lorraine Roy’s Woven Woods

Artist and quilter Lorraine Roy recently created a series of quilted wall hangings called Woven Woods: A Journey Through the Forest Floor. The hangings were inspired by the research of Dr. Suzanne Simard at the University of British Columbia.

The concept behind the series is that the top six inches of the forest floor has a flourishing communication system, in which there is a beautiful symbiosis of tree roots and fungi that create channels for messages and resource sharing between single trees. Biologists have discovered the existence of what they refer to as Mother trees, which are larger, older trees that, through the help of these fungi, act as sort of “system hubs” for these communication networks while alive, and major sources of nutrients in death.

Roy’s work provides a visual artistry that honors these discoveries and this incredible complexity of the natural world.

These are just a couple examples of how the life sciences can influence art, and how art can inspire people to learn about the life sciences. We hope to continue to be inspired for many years to come. Let us know your thoughts and suggestions by leaving a comment below.

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By |2018-07-30T15:02:00-04:00August 2nd, 2018|Categories: Blog, Environment|Tags: , , , , , , |

About the Author:

Dr. Leanne J Philip, BSc. (Hon.); MSc.; PhD. is the Managing Director & Chief Scientist of Soil Advocates Inc. She studied at the University of Guelph as an undergraduate (Plant Biology, Environmental Management and Urban Horticulture) and as a graduate student (Plant & Soil Interactions). She has a keen interest in soil sciences, which lead her to the University of British Columbia in Vancouver for doctoral studies in soil carbon sequestration and movement within British Columbia’s clear-cut soils. Further work in soil sciences in Europe and Canada reinforced Dr. Philip’s belief that soil processes and mechanisms belowground drive aboveground aesthetics and plant interactions. While active in both research, mentorship and teaching, most recently Dr. Philip has been working in applied soil sciences in industry and community outreach. Dr. Philip is a native of southern Ontario and is a strong advocate for scientific literacy within her community and responsible environmental stewardship.

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