If you're not doing anything this Friday night, why not join us at the opening party for Observatory's first art exhibition? Full details below; for directions, click here. The event is free and open to the public; hope to see you there!
Opening Party for On Clouds, An art exhibition organized by James WalshSo please, come help us celebrate the first of many Observatory exhibitions! More information can be found here. We very much hope to see you there.
Friday, September 18, from 7 to 10
Exhibition open: Friday, September 18 through Sunday, November 15, 2009
543 Union Street (at Nevins), Brooklyn, NY 11215
Free and open to the public
Wine will be served
Observatory is proud to announce our first gallery exhibition, On Clouds, organized by James Walsh, opening Friday, September 18, from 7 to 10.
With prints and photographs by James Walsh in the gallery, and an evening program of projections, performances, poetry, and other events by various artists throughout the run of the show.
Clouds have long been the object of scientific study and artistic depiction. Beginning in the early nineteenth century, the emerging science of meteorology allowed the fleeting and apparently formless clouds to be closely observed, categorized, and recorded. At this same time, in England and Germany, painters and poets also began to look more intently at clouds. While insisting on artifice and inspiration over mere recording, they increasingly sought to give their work a sense of greater realism and emotional power by focusing on the careful observation and accurate depiction of the natural world. The worlds of science and art were much closer then, with artists and scientists meeting in society and following each others’ work, and this allowed a shared culture to develop. At its best, detached observation was allied with emotional projection, and imagination was grounded and enriched by careful, systematic recording, all in the service of what they called natural philosophy and we would call natural history.
In this exhibition, James Walsh will present three bodies of work that trace this blending of science and art in the depiction of clouds from the early 1800s to the early 1900s.
The video Constable’s Clouds (8 min., 2009) looks at the English landscape painter John Constable and the period from 1819 to 1822 when, departing from the traditions of landscape painting and assuming the role of artist-as-scientist, he painted the clouds and sky alone. He summarized his attitude during these years when he said in a lecture “Painting is a science, and should be pursued as an inquiry into the laws of nature. Why, then, may not landscape be considered as a branch of natural philosophy, of which pictures are but the experiments?” On Wednesday, October 21 at 8pm, this video will be projected along with the work of other artists in a program of lectures, video, and performance.
Image: video still from James Walsh, Constable's Clouds, 8 min., 2009