Science Meets ArtGAMBIER, Ohio (January 18, 2009) The "Wunderkammern" exhibition at the Olin Art Gallery blends historic scientific instruments with sculpture, photographs, and natural objects, echoing cabinet-of-curiosity collections begun in the Renaissance.
The exhibition opens on Jan. 22 and continues through Feb. 28 at the gallery, 103 College Dr. Artist collaborators Gary Nickard and Reinhard Reitzenstein, faculty members in the Department of Visual Studies at the University of Buffalo, will discuss their work at 7:30 p.m. on the opening day in the Olin Auditorium. The artists create installations that merge science and the humanities.
The "essence of wonder" built into this exhibition should leave visitors musing about why certain objects are placed together, Nickard said. The artists do not explain the relationships of objects. "We are going back to that idea that part of science is about wonder and awe at nature," he said. "People need to write their own story and come to their own understanding of things. We want people to be amazed and excited about the show and about these objects."
Wunderkammern were forerunners of the modern museum. These eclectic, private displays included numerous natural specimens, archeological artifacts, works of art, and religious relics among others in a curious mix.
The scientific equipment in this exhibition is gleaned from the "remarkable collection of 19th and early 20th century physics instruments" kept by Thomas Greenslade Jr., Kenyon professor emeritus of physics, Nickard said. "We're picking the most wonderful objects, the most exotic," Nickard said. "This exhibition is really about the aesthetics of science."
Greenslade taught physics at Kenyon for 41 years. His collection of antique apparatuses includes such objects as an absorption spectrometer, a differential screw, an induction coil, and an optical bench. "These are very beautiful things," Greenslade said.
Together, Nickard and Reitzenstein have exhibited at CEPA Gallery, Buffalo, N.Y.; SPACES, Cleveland, Ohio; New Jersey City University Art Gallery, Jersey City, N.J.; and Big Orbit Gallery, Buffalo, N.Y.
The exhibition is free. The Olin Art Gallery is open Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and on Saturday and Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Contact gallery director Dan Younger at firstname.lastname@example.org and 740-427-5346 or visit www2.kenyon.edu/artgallery for more information.