Science and Art United

The first Maine Science Festival event is going on right now (and through March 21st) at the University of Maine Museum of Art (UMMA) on Harlow Street in Bangor.  Global Change: The Dance of Contingencies is an art exhibit by Deborah Cornell and Barbara Putnam that combines science with art to show the interconnected effects of climate change on the natural world. The exhibition shows the concern of observing how some human actions have thrown entire ecological systems out of balance. The artists state: “There is no doubt that climate change is here. How to deal with global warming morally and honestly is a gamble that we now face.”

Putnam’s pieces show the impact of humans on the environment. Cornell’s Games of Chance series mixes images of nature and gambling devices, reflecting on attitudes and practices toward the environment.

In the past, the University of  Maine Museum of Art has had many exhibits with connections to science. In 2012, Ruth Marshall’s exhibit, Vanished into Stitches, was a creation of life-size knitted artworks that resembled animal pelts. Her artwork was meant to spread awareness of endangered animals.

In 2011, the UMMA displayed The Global Lens: Large-Scale Photographs by Dominc Chavez. He documented the lives of children of the Sierra Leone region, where garbage ran into their drinking and bathing water. Eva Wagner, an education coordinator at UMMA, said that during the tours of this exhibit, the photographs prompted discussion about the importance of clean water for human survival.

“These are just two examples of how art and science are interwoven,” states Wagner. “Artists often use their artwork as a way to process intense emotional reactions to the human condition or the condition of the natural world but also to inform others. But even when art is not connected to a social issue, there is so much science in art-making. For sculptures contending with gravity…to the process of etching, or mixing colors for a painting. I don’t think you could separate science from art if you wanted to. (W)hether science is inter-twined with nature, human behavior or in the process of art making, like art, science is everywhere you look!”  

One of the key goals of the Maine Science Festival is helping people realize that science is everywhere – and that includes within the arts. From UMMA with this exhibit, to Penobscot Theatre Company’s production of “End Days” to panel discussions about the science of music with the Bangor Symphony Orchestra and a physicist, there is no shortage of examples of the ways science and the arts intersect.

The University of Maine Museum of Art is open from Monday through Saturday from 10am to 5pm. They will be exhibiting Global Change: The Dance of Contingencies by Deborah Cornell and Barbara Putnam from now through March 21st, and will be hosting a number of MSF events throughout the day on Saturday, March 21st.

Join us at the Maine Science Festival, March 20-22, to find out more ways in which science really is everywhere.