Local artists chosen for MDI’s ‘Art Meets Science’

Apr 26, 2017
Don Raineville uses house paint and plant clippings to create his “abstract realism” works; pictured is “Origins II.”

Bar Harbor — The MDI Biological Laboratory has named four 2017 Maine artists-in-residence whose work will be the subject of the laboratory’s sixth “Art Meets Science” exhibit. The annual exhibit will go on display at the laboratory’s new Center for Science Entrepreneurship this summer.

Two of the four 2017 artists-in-residence hail from the Midcoast. This year’s program is a departure from the format of previous “Art Meets Science” exhibits, which showcased artworks with scientific themes from artists from around the world. Instead, the 2017 artists are being “embedded” with the institution’s students and scientists and will develop artworks that reflect these interactions.

“After five years of successful ‘Art Meets Science’ exhibits, we wanted to explore the relationship between art and science in a deeper way, especially how science influences art and vice versa,” said Jeri Bowers, director of development. “Like much that we do here at the MDI Biological Laboratory, this is an experiment — one that we hope to build upon in years to come.”

Instead of concentrating exclusively on the artworks, the 2017 “Art Meets Science” exhibit also will focus on the process of creation — how artists and scientists are inspired by their interactions with one another. The documentation of this process —- through artistic journals, laboratory notebooks, sketches and photographs — will be a part of the 2017 exhibit.

The local 2017 MDI Biological Laboratory artists-in-residence are Susan Camp of Winterport and Donald V. Rainville of Camden. Camp is a printmaker, sculptor and adjunct professor of art at the University of Maine. Her work reflects her concern and fascination with the manipulation of species in a landscape dominated by corporate farming. For the past decade, she has been constraining and manipulating growing gourds in molds she makes from construction materials and doll forms. The resulting hybrid gourd forms have individual mutations determined by the struggle of a fruit that is growing within constraints.

Rainville experiments with color and diverse materials to produce landscapes of "abstract realism." He paints in house oils, using torn shapes of lightweight cardboard and plant clippings rather than brushes. His “treescapes” are inspired by Maine and New England forests. Rainville likens his painting process to the orchestration of visual music. His aim is for his work to inspire an unconscious instinct in viewers to use all of their senses, not just sight.

The other two selected artists-in-residence are Cheryl M. Coffin of Surry, a former academic surgical and pediatric pathologist whose artwork is inspired by landscape and seascape, aerial topographic views and macroscopic and microscopic cellular images; and J. K. Putnam of Southwest Harbor, an editorial, outdoor and documentary photographer who teaches photography on Mount Desert Island.

The 2017 artists were selected by exhibit curator and artist-in-residence program coordinator Annette Carvajal, founder of the Mount Desert Island-based group Art in Public Spaces, for their interest in the intersections between art and science. Carvajal, who is an artist as well, also hopes to produce works for the exhibit. For updates on the 2017 Art Meets Science exhibit, visit mdibl.org/events/art-meets-science.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115; or dernest@courierpublicationsllc.com.

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