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Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Size Does Matter

Now that I’ve got your attention, have you ever stopped to think about the importance of our perception of scale? No, me neither. Until now. I mean, at one end of the ‘scale’ we have incomprehensibly small particles making up the entire universe and at the other, distances measured in the equally mind-boggling lightyears*, millions of which it would take to even dip your toes in that pool of matter.

*If, like me, your year 5 physics is jumbled up in your head somewhere between mottle and daub medieval huts and the formation of an oxbow lake, let me remind you; A lightyear is the distance that light can travel in a year!).

Yet, visually, on a day-to-day basis we all perceive the world on the same scale, or so it seems. The Measure for Measure art exhibition at Gallery 825 Los Angeles, explores the ability of art to experience and perceive the size and scale of what we see.

Whilst oscillating strings vibrating to create the universe (see my previous poem: String Theory) is difficult to conceive, the art in Measure for Measure makes tangible the conceptually dramatic boundaries that we meet in science.

Lisa Randall, curator, explains ‘I wanted a theme where both art and science could participate and it wasn't just art representing science or science pretending to be art, but where we could think deeply about ideas that underlie both of them’

The exhibit consists of work from seven artisits and includes painting, sculpture, images, installations and videos. Prominent in many of the installations were mirrors, their reflections creating swollen and shrunken worlds-within-worlds.

Unfortunately, for my predominantly-English audience, the exhibition was in Los Angeles, however, you can peruse the following pictures form the exhibit and read more about the exhibit at the Measure for Measure website.

Image: Anita Bartlett  Susan Sironi's 'Actual Size' - A Portrait in Four Parts
Sironi took illustrated classics like 'Gulliver's Travels' and 'Through the Looking Glass', then carving to-scale tracings of her body parts into them using a surgical scalpel.
'Measurements of Space in a Fractal Structured Vacuum', Artist Felicity Nove 'created paint pours reminiscent of supernova explosions and black holes on the Hubble website'.

'Meeson Pae Yang's Structures installation explores diatoms, groups of algae that make up a large component of the earth's biota.'

Images copyright of Los Angeles Art Association.  For details of all images sources and references please contact me directly.

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