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Unnatural Variations: A Playful Look at Science and Art

Written by Kate Harner

Unnatural Variations 5-ROTH DIAZHOPE AllegoryoftheInfiniteMortal (2).jpgWillimantic, Conn. - The Julian Akus Gallery at Eastern Connecticut State University will present "Unnatural Variations: A Playful Look at Science and Art" from March 15-April 26.  The opening reception will take place March 29 from 5-7 p.m. in Akus Gallery, bottom floor of Shafer Hall. The public is invited. Admission is free.

"Unnatural Variations" draws together the work of five artists, all of whose work references forms and themes seen in many different types of science. The artists whose work will be on view in "Unnatural Variations" are Joseph Saccio, Laurel Roth, Andy Diaz Hope, Irene Miller and Mia Brownell.

Unnatural Variations 1-BROWNELL SLwGrapeandPear (2).jpg Brownell's paintings are in several different collections, including Wellington Management, Fidelity Investments and the National Academy of Sciences. Her works have been reviewed in such publications as The Boston Globe, New York Times, ArtNet and HiFructose. "My paintings embrace a fusion of traditional still life techniques and scientific models of proteins, sublimated by notions of American dyspepsia," said Brownell.


Unnatural Variations 3-ROTH Food.jpgMiller's work is influenced by Post Minimalism and Neo-Geo.  In order to create her "Sightlines" and "Floaters" monoprints, she combines ephemeral resources such as dust, seeds, dirt, hair and plants, as well as more tangible materials such as photos, wax paper and thread.  "These series concentrate on minuscule details in the electron-microscopic and cellular studies of the invertebrate eye influenced by Kandinsky's series 'Several Circles,'" said Miller. "This new work is most personal, as it is a commentary on visual deterioration, which, to an artist, becomes a life concern." 

Unnatural Variatons 2-SACCIO ColloquyforClint.jpg 
Roth's work has been shown in India, London, New York, Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles, Wisconsin, Kentucky and San Francisco. "I use art in order to examine the biological ramifications of human behavior and humankind's drive to modify itself and its environment," said Roth. "By playing with the convergence of biology and product design to create innovative cultural artifacts, I try to question social constructions of need, design and individual desire."


Unnatural Variations 4-MILLER Floaters.jpgRoth and Hope have collaborated on several works, including "The Allegory of the Infinite Mortal," which is a detailed woven jacquard tapestry depicting the intellectual structures humankind uses to try to understand the concept of the infinite.
Saccio's sculptures, ranging in installation sizes for indoors or outdoors, utilize both natural and synthetic materials. Most of his work uses natural materials like wood and found objects that are joined together in a very primitive manner in order to express feelings that have to do with myth, ritual, loss and rebirth.

Unnatural Variations 2-SACCIO ColloquyforClint .jpgThe Akus Gallery is located in the lower level of Shafer at the corner of Windham and Valley Streets in Willimantic. Gallery hours are 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 1-7 p.m. on Thursday and 2-5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
For more information regarding this exhibition, contact the Akus Gallery at (860) 465-4659 or  

March 2015

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