Through March 7: "Into The Dark" Gallery Exhibit
The Eide/Dalrymple Gallery premieres "Into the Dark: Artists Exploring Dark Matter," a touring exhibit featuring works by 22 artists in a range of media, including painting, sculpture, printmaking and mixed media, through Friday, March 7. The exhibit is free and open to the public.
A gallery reception held on Friday, Feb. 7, in the Gallery, included artists' talks, with Dr. Drew Alton, associate professor of Physics at Augustana, discussing the nature of Dark Matter and its research, and artists Nancyjane Huehl, Chad Nelson and Scott Parsons discussing their works and the experience of creating pieces for this exhibition.
Science and the hunt for dark matter — the elusive and unseen substance that may make up 23 percent of the universe — fascinates artist Chris Francis of Madison, S.D.
Believing that art can help communicate cutting-edge scientific research to a wider audience, Francis created a Facebook page to promote the making of art and a gallery at the Sanford Underground Research Facility in Lead, S.D.
This quickly led to a collaboration between Francis and the Sanford Lab’s Communications Director, Bill Harlan, which paved the way for several artists from across South Dakota to visit the Sanford Underground Research Facility last summer.
Sanford Underground Research Facility
During their visit, the artists talked to scientists about their research on dark matter, including their attempts to detect dark matter with the Large Underground Xenon (LUX) experiment underway at the Sanford Facility.
From there, the artists were challenged to produce works about what has yet to be detected. Their exciting results became the exhibition “Into the Dark: Artists Exploring Dark Matter.” The exhibition includes the work of 22 artists and a range of media, including painting, sculpture, printmaking and mixed media.
Augustana Associate Professor of Art Scott Parsons was among the artists who visited the underground lab. He created a wood engraving entitled “Dark Matter.” The image begins with a study of the human figure rendered without skin to reveal the muscles underneath.
“From this classical écorché study,” explains Parsons, “the image transmutes into celestial patterns and scales, and perhaps suggests a bridge between the centuries. If dark matter is the stuff between what we know and see, then any artistic contemplation would involve the spaces between the silences of what we know: the spaces between the spaces if you will.”
Artist Nancyjane Huehl created a mixed media piece for the project.
“Art with science can be a place of ideas — knowledge and communication,” notes Huehl.
In her work, “A New Millennium of Knowledge — In Search of Dark Matter,” Huehl blended images from nature and scientific drawings with a reference to a famous medieval unicorn tapestry. Huehl applied the metaphor of the uniform to her experiences visiting the Sanford Underground Research Facility and conceptualizing the quest for the unknown.
TOP: "Push Not Pull" by Dick Termes.
ABOVE: "Millennium" by Nancyjane Huehl.
BELOW: "A Darker Place" by Chad Nelson.
“Once we see the first, the rest of the ‘hidden’ can become visible.”
From theory to fact is the ongoing process of both scientists and artists.
Printmaker Chad Nelson, a teacher at Brandon Valley High School who also serves as an instructor and artist-in-residence at Augustana, began with an image of his daughter holding a jar 23 percent full, representing the amount of the universe that scientists currently think dark matter constitutes. From there he added nebulous strands suggesting the gravitational balance of the universe and impressions of the LUX Detector and its photomultiplier tubes.
Participating artists include Francis, Huehl, Parsons, Nelson, Lynda Clark Adelstein, Jacob Bosmoe, Denise DuBroy, Gina Gibson, Susan M. Heggestad, Dale Lamphere, Bob H. Miller, Deborah Mitchell, Donald F. Montileaux, D. George Prisbe-Przybysz, Jerry Rawlings, Lisa Shoemaker, Grant Standard, Daniel M. Tackett, Dick A. Termes, Lynn Thorpe, Ray Tysdal and Bob Wilson.
The exhibition also includes “Deep Photography,” which chronicles the transformation of the Homestake Mine into the Sanford Underground Research Facility. This segment features photography by Steve Babbitt, professor of photography at Black Hills State University, and Matt Kapust, multimedia specialist at Sanford Lab.
“Into the Dark” was unveiled at the Lead-Deadwood Arts Center last July as a part of the annual Neutrino Day celebrations and is now touring the state. The exhibition has traveled to the Eide/Dalrymple Gallery at Augustana College from the Aberdeen Recreation and Cultural Center and will be the first time that it will be on view on the east side of the state.
This exhibition is sponsored by the Lead-Deadwood Arts Council in collaboration with the Sanford Underground Research Facility of Lead, South Dakota.
The Eide/Dalrymple Gallery is located on Commons Circle (30th Street and Grange Avenue), in the Center for Visual Arts at Augustana College. The gallery is open to the public and free of charge. Hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday noon to 5 p.m. Closed Sundays.