Belinda's Bash

Belinda Naylor-Stables MA

Curious Creatives

For this article I’m inspired by the Wellcome Trust Arts Fund – and wonder whether any members are interested (details below.) Curiosity is often the start for creativity and scientific exploration, so this week I thought I’d get curious about the links between Art and the science of Biology. Here goes…

Finds and funds

The Wellcome Trust is a biomedical group who believe that the arts can bring major awareness about - and understanding of - the biomedical sciences. Artists or art groups may be interested in responding to the 2012 invitation to bid for funding. The deadlines are 27 April, or 27 July and also a third opportunity on 26 October 2012.

Secrets and sources

The most inspirational statement about the biosciences is that they:

‘… seek to shed light on the secrets of life...’
From the BioScience prospectus 2012, Oxford Brookes University

Biology and the biosciences are a bottomless sea of inspiration for artists. This particular YouTube link shows Jason deCaires Taylor’s work. He makes fantastic sculptural statements about what we humans are doing to the biology of our planet. Even more amazing, he displays his works in an underwater park.

Eyeballing and reaction

It’s the very biology of human beings that affects the way we see art and design. However, our brains do not depend on senses alone for processing what we see; it combines sensory information with logic and emotion too. Personally it’s not something I think about everyday – but as a practising artist perhaps it ought to be. This knowledge should help us hook the onlooker with our message or medium. The classic books on this topic, available in most local libraries if you have not seen them already are: Berger’s ‘Ways of Seeing’ and Gregory’s ‘Eye and Brain’.

Seeing what’s invisible

As artists we deal with the visible to show invisible attributes such as emotion and atmosphere. In many instances science works the other way round – realising what must be invisible and then enabling us to see it or at least know about it – germs are a case in point. I don’t know about you, but I would probably not have thought about oxygen if science had not told me that it exists.

I hope you’ve been inspired by these ideas and links. If you have personal stories or favourite sources for Biology or Biosciences and the way they link to Art then do let us know the details by adding a comment...