November 6, 2007

Works by Ed Kerns will be on Display at Muhlenberg College Nov. 20-Dec. 15

Clapp Professor of Art collaborated with artist Elizabeth Chapman and three art majors for ‘Word, Mind, City: A Universal Resonance’

Recent works by Ed Kerns, Eugene H. Clapp II ’36 Professor of Art, in collaboration with artist Elizabeth Chapman, will appear in the exhibit “Word, Mind, City: A Universal Resonance,” running Tuesday, Nov. 20 to Saturday, Dec. 15, at the Martin Gallery at Muhlenberg College.

A discussion on the exhibit will take place 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 28 in the gallery. The discussion will include Kerns; Chapman; Elaine Reynolds, associate professor of biology and chair of neuroscience; Amze Emmons, assistant professor of art at Muhlenberg; and Jeremy Teissere, director of Muhlenberg’s neuroscience program. A reception will follow the discussion at 6 p.m.

Three EXCEL Scholars assisted Kerns and Chapman with the project. Art majors Alaina Lackman ’09 (Philadelphia, Pa.), Rachel Pidcock ’09 (Allentown, Pa.), and Allison Thompson ’08 (Saddle River, N.J.) worked with conceptual development and digital imagery and also served as studio assistants.

  • Podcast: Art Students Collaborate on Exhibit with Professor Ed Kerns

The exhibit, consisting of 25 to 30 pieces, focuses on the concept that nature has an economy of design and that human beings can understand the outside world by exploring their inner workings. This focus is similar to that used by artist and scientist Leonardo da Vinci.

“The works focus on the large and small processes, those that exist at both quantum and cosmic scales,” says Kerns. “The exhibit demonstrates both the merging of traditional with digital and the ways in which art and science come from the same root. It also expresses the need for a consilient language in which artists and scientists can find common ground.”

For the exhibit, Kerns worked with Chapman, a practicing architect and painter who has studied neurology as a part of her graduate work at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Kerns and Chapman also brought in Reynolds to use her scientific expertise on some pieces.

“The extension of the artist’s eye is made possible by new technologies and analysis techniques,” says Kerns.

The technique of layering was used for many of the pieces in the exhibit. This layering is symbolic of the way the brain works.

“Each layer is a metaphor for a neurological process leading to the experience of self and other,” says Chapman. “The collaboration combines our mutual affinity for layered systems as well with our attunement to deep transcending patterns in nature.”

Some works from the exhibit will be on display in Skillman Library beginning in January.

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