November 2001

From Weizmann Institute

Art & science from Israel on view in the US

Images from the Weizmann Institute of Science featured in Museum Exhibit

NEW YORK, NY — November 7, 2001 — The San Jose Museum of Art, in collaboration with the American Committee for the Weizmann Institute of Science (ACWIS), is presenting noted artist Catherine Wagner’s photography exhibition featuring over 30 large-scale, black-and-white photographs. Catherine Wagner: Cross Sections, is on view from November 3, 2001 through January 20, 2002.

In the works in the exhibition, Wagner has incorporated state-of-the-art technology and medical research findings to produce beautiful and provocative images that examine life from the inside-out. Using MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) and SEM (Scanning Electron Microscope), technologies originally developed for medical research, Wagner creates compelling images of the interior of organic matter such as fruits, vegetables, cells, and skeletal structures. She worked closely with scientists and technicians at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel and at Stanford University to produce these technically complex, aesthetically powerful images. Sara Lee Schupf, ACWIS Chairman Emerita, helped bring Wagner together with the Weizmann Institute and was an inspirational force behind the exhibit.

While art and science are often thought of as opposites, historically these two fields have collaborated – unified by the creative process and the drive to discover. In her work, Wagner highlights the links between art and science and the ways in which both contribute to our understanding of life. By utilizing scientific equipment to produce her images, she draws fascinating parallels between the investigative roles shared by both disciplines.

A monumental installation entitled Pomegranate Wall is the centerpiece and highlight of Catherine Wagner: Cross Sections. The wall, an 8 x 40 foot curved arc composed of backlit duratrans, dramatically illuminates a series of interior images of a pomegranate.

In conjunction with the opening of the exhibit, the Bay Area Region of the American Committee for the Weizmann Institute of Science sponsored a gala event at the San Jose Museum of Art. Prof. Stephen Weiner, of the Weizmann Institute’s Department of Structural Biology, participated in the program. Prof. Weiner, whose major interests are in biomineralization and archaeology, was among the scientists who collaborated with Catherine Wagner.

In the exhibit catalogue, Prof. Weiner explains that he was “always excited about the beauty of the material we studied.” Yet Catherine Wagner brought a “different eye” by presenting her images in ways that “both respect nature and bring out their art,” the scientist said.

The exhibition is accompanied by a 96-page catalogue with approximately 40 plates entitled Catherine Wagner: Cross Sections and Annotations. The catalogue was co-published by the San Jose Museum of Art, Twin Palms Press, and ACWIS. The catalogue represents a landmark collaboration between a contemporary art museum, a scientific research center, and a fine arts publisher.

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Catherine Wagner is an internationally exhibited, widely published artist. TIME magazine recently named Wagner as one of its “100 Innovators,” the only photographer to be selected for this honor. Her work is in the collections of several major museums, including the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Museum of Fokswang in Essen, Germany, and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Her many awards include the inaugural Visual Arts Fellowship from the San Jose Museum of Art, a Guggenheim Fellowship, NEA Fellowships, and the Ferguson Award.

The Weizmann Institute of Science, in Rehovot, Israel, is one of the world’s foremost centers of scientific research and graduate study. Its 2,500 scientists, students, technicians and engineers pursue basic research in the quest for knowledge and to enhance the quality of human life. New ways of fighting disease and hunger, protecting the environment, and harnessing alternative sources of energy are high priorities at Weizmann.

This article comes from Science Blog. Copyright © 2004

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