Intersecting Methods 2018 Call!

With the success of the two previous iterations of the Intersecting Methods portfolio, R&D editions is putting out the call for new participants to find collaborators and make editions that will be exhibited and build an archive of prints where artists and scientists collaborate.

The 2018 edition will work in the same format as the first two iterations. 12 printmakers will be selected from an applicant pool. Those 12 will then each find a collaborator to work with, they will collaborate and build ideas together with an end result of 26 prints in an edition.

R&D editions will gather the editions, collate, place in portfolios and then send back two portfolios to each collaborative duo, so that each participant, not just the printmaker, will receive a copy of the works created.

Two of the portfolios will be held in R&D editions archives and build on the collection of art and science collaboration that R&D strives for. One of these portfolios will be used for exhibitions in to be determined locations. The previous portfolios have been shown at multiple locations, including at Frogmans’ Print Workshop, formerly at the University of South Dakota.

Here is a link to the official Intersecting Methods 2018 Submission Flyer with application and deadline information.

Email rndeditions@gmail.com for any questions or to apply for participation.

Intaglio Toner Wash

So this is a new technique to me that I learned about from Carrie Lingscheit’s instagram feed. This technique utilizes the same idea as toner wash in lithography, but instead of the toner creating the marks that are etched and inked up, the toner is used as a resist for the ferric chloride in copper plate intaglio.

When I asked Carrie where she learned this technique or if she created it, she said she did not think she created it, but could remember starting to experiment with it in graduate school. As far as I know, she’s the originator because I’d never heard of it before and a few colleagues hadn’t either.

The basics of the process are that you create a mixture of toner, water and a few drops of liquid soap to break the water’s surface tension allowing the water and toner to mix. Once mixed, you paint it over the surface. Initially I allowed it to try dry on its own, not air movement manipulation.

Once the toner is dry, you have to heat it to attach it to the surface of the copper. Carrie did this with a lighter underneath while the copper sat on a baking rack. I used a heat gun about an inch or so above the surface as I moved it around. I could also see a good hot plate with a aluminum roasting tray over it building up enough heat to melt the toner.

But you have to be careful, my plate would get hot enough that I could not pick it up with my bare hands. I found the toner, when fully melted, gained a sheen, like melted plastic (because it is plastic).

With the toner melted, you can drop it for a single etch or use hardground to etch it like an aquatint.

Here is my initial attempt.

The result was awesome and I wanted to try more. So next I used the standard process that Carrie had described to create an 8″x10″ plate that I etched for 20 min.

Since then I have been doing a series of experiments on small sample plates to explore new ways to manipulate the toner wash. Below are a series of galleries showing each plate at each step.

Wet plates:

Dry plates:

Heat set plates:

Etched plates:

Proofs:

The results are pretty varied but each creates unique marks and gives me new ideas on how I can manipulate the toner further and create imagery of all different sorts.

As a printmaker, the dissemination of imagery and information is in my blood as most others. So I created a PDF instruction sheet that Carrie looked over. I have attached it here for anyone else to use to explore toner wash intaglio.

toner wash handout

If you find some interesting results, please email me with them. I’d love to see what others come up with using this process.

Back and Busy

Okay, I’m back and busy as ever. For those of you who didn’t hear from me personally or through social media, my wife have birth to our first child at the end of September. So that combined with a four class load and lots of projects has kept me busy and a little too overwhelmed to get on and post.

But now, its time to catch up and post some new developments in R&D projects and experiments.

This week I will be posting about some summer time experiments I did for my collaboration with Ryan Hackett. I would have posted these earlier, but I wanted to meet with Ryan and discuss the outcome before posting and by the time we met the semester was in full swing and my daughter was only a few weeks away.

So in June, I made a weekend trip to Durham, NC to experiment with Brian Gonzalez of the University of Sharjah, formerly of Supergraphic. Brian demonstrated, last March at the SGC International conference in Portland, the use of a new style of ink, thermochromic ink. This is in that changes color based on its temperature, which can be altered in a variety of ways.

Ryan’s initial idea was to explore the idea of creating a print that could alter based on the viewer/owners interaction with it and I thought this ink might be the perfect solution. So I contacted Brian and he offered to help me play around with it for a bit.

So over a two day period I drove to Durham and created some test prints using Brian’s thermochromic ink and other imagery. Here are some of the results.

Ryan’s interest was to see how the thermochromic ink would affect or alter our perception of a CMYK image printed over top of it. Our theory being that certain colors would disappear and cause a loss of visual information as the thermochromic ink started to match its color. We also tested a black that would disappear at a certain temperature to see how that would affect the image.

In conclusion, we found they it might be possible with a larger dot pattern with a more obvious alteration of the color backing, but at the detail level we were exploring it would not work. The main issue overall being that the thermochromic ink must be printed on a black surface to allow for the color shift to be recognizable. This caused an immediate loss of information that never resolved and came back with the shift of color.

So Ryan and I are keeping this ink and process in the back pocket as a tool we could use, but are now exploring other avenues for his edition.

Next post will expand on some personal experiments with a toner wash intaglio process. So keep any eye out for it.

Intersecting Methods Panel Participants

R&D editions received 12 applications for the Intersecting Methods panel for the 2017 SGCI conference, Terminus, in Atlanta, GA. Each application was exceptional, but I can only choose three for the panel.

I have selected the applications of Erik Waterkotte, Patricia Olynyk, and Rob Swainston with Alison Dell.

Erik’s focus will explore re-structuring printmaking’s dissemination of research and work created in the studio to have a more direct relationship with the Industry and scientific research. While, Patricia will present and investigate a selection of contemporary artists, focused in printmaking, who create work based on scientific concepts and expand the definition of printmaking in the processes. Lastly, Rob Swainston with Alison Dell, will present their use of the scientific method to experiment and expand on printmaking techniques.

Along with their presentations, I will present some of the unique collaborations that have come from the 2014 and 2016 Intersecting Methods portfolio exchanges and how this project has expanded the dialogue between science and printmaking.

I will post more about this panel at different points between now and next March. But for now, feel free to read the abstracts from the three accepted panel applications below.

Erik Waterkotte’s Abstract:

For my contribution to the Intersecting Methods panel I propose that the intersections of science and printmaking are already present within the methodology and pedagogy of Printmaking but we need to reposition how we produce and disseminate the research and work we create within the Studio Arts. By examining the application and purpose of new technologies (both lo-tech and hi-tech, from GIF animations to 3-D Printing) we can easily identify important connections to the technology and skill-set of Printmaking. And, by expanding the application of Printmaking’s skill-set we can connect the Fine Art, Printmaking studio to industry and the production needs of today and beyond.

I will examine the apprehensions in re-connecting Printmaking with Industry and show that the goals and production of the last half-century of Contemporary Art are evidence that Fine Art can and should utilize industrial methods. Using examples from my own teaching and research (including recent collaborative, class projects, co-taught courses, and research into commercial printmaking and fabrication) I will detail how reconnecting Printmaking to Industry is extremely timely and germane. The artistic pedagogy of Printmaking is incredible and, if explored and expanded upon, can offer new paradigms and solutions in Science and Industry.

http://www.erikwaterkotte.com

Patricia Olynyk’s Abstract:

Science inspires and informs the arts, and the arts also inspire and inform science. A recent joint meeting of the National Science Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts engaged influential thinkers who explored various types of inquiry that concerns the territories of both art and science.

Like scientific research, printmaking fully engages evolving technologies and frequently involves asking questions for which we do not have an answer. It shares overlapping concerns with the life sciences, biotechnology and nanotechnology, which in turn generates new collaborations between printmakers and members of the scientific community. Such partnerships can incite reasoned debate on controversial issues related to new advances in science and medicine and also expand the possibilities for understanding the impact of science and technology on the human condition and all living systems.

Printmaking, like scientific inquiry, is iterative, process based, and largely image oriented. Printmakers sometimes engage in the visualization of biomedical and scientific phenomena, employing imagery or constructing work derived from—or dialectically related to—such research tools or processes that engage electron microscopy, magnetic resonance imaging, digital tomosynthesis, and/or biomechatronics.

This presentation will include print media works by Hung Lu, Suzanne Anker, Brad Smith, Ellen K. Levy, and Patricia Olynyk (to name a few). I will discuss work inspired by notions of “reproduction,” “variation” and “complexity” (Trillium Press), work which mines medical archives to question scientific taxonomies (the Mütter Museum), and work that focuses on Gaston Bachelard’s assertion that: “bad science can produce good art.”

http://patriciaolynyk.com

Rob Swainston’s Abstract:

The printed image is deeply rooted in technology and innovation – a historically negotiated assemblage between hand, device, and image. As such printmaking is ripe for connecting art and science – and particularly to apply the scientific method to systematically investigate new ways to intervene with traditional printmaking methods.

Alison Dell, Ph.D. (research scientist, professor, and second generation printmaker) and Rob Swainston (artist, professor, and master printer) – have used the scientific method to generate a series of printmaking “hacks” in which digital technologies and less-toxic processes synergize with the tools and equipment already available in most printshops.

One such project is affectionately termed “fake etching,” or “fetching.” The goal of this project was to investigate how print processes can be more compatible with digital platforms yet maintain the rich tonal range achievable through intaglio techniques. Carrying out numerous experiments over the course of two research residencies at the Frans Masereel Centrum, Alison and Rob developed new photo-collagraph processes using cues from lithography, silkscreen, and Photoshop. In keeping with the information sharing mandated by the scientific community – Dell and Swainston published two “how-to” videos detailing their methods and results. These are freely available online.

The fetching project is just one example of Alison and Rob employing scientific method in developing new print processes. During the panel the team will present the findings of both this and other science-driven print investigations developed in Rob’s NYC Printshop, Prints of Darkness.

http://robswainston.com

Print Think 2016

 

Yesterday, I attended the Print Think 2016 Symposium at the Tyler School of Art at Temple University in Philadephia, PA. Hosted by the printmaking faculty; Hester Stinnet, Richard Hricko and Amze Emmons, it was a great day of print presentations, panels and demonstrations.

The Keynote speaker as Susan Tallman, Editor-in-Chief of Art in Print, who spoke about the relationship print has with connecting the local, but also spreading ideas further through the multiple by connecting the similarities of design and style of some mid-18th century American portraiture to the mezzotints of Sir Joshua Reynolds portraiture paintings in England. While also criticizing the idea of staying too local with artist CSAs and the small amount of stylistic change that has occurred in Norwegian until recently.

Tallman’s presentation was followed up by three short presentations and a panel discussion with artists and publishers; Jeffery Dell, Ryan Standfest of Rotland Press and Kristian Henson of The Office of Culture and Design. Each presenter discussed their own relationship with the local and cosmopolitan through trying to become engaged in either a local community or a community built around an idea, but then how that inital specific interest has spread through connections of interest, the internet, and exhibitions.

After lunch, the afternoon started with the “Demo Derby” in the Tyler printshop. A massive space divided up by incomplete walls for easy passage from one print area to the next. There were some small demos of chine colle, collograph, etc, and a vareity of local and regional print studios showing off their members works and promoting themselves for others to join.

The time at Tyler ended with a artist talk by Kate McQuillen who focused her talk about her latest installation, Night HouseNight House was part of the 2nd Terrain Biennial in 2015, organized by Terrain Exhibitions and Sabina Ott. For the project, Kate created a starry sky facade that would be attached to the house for a month. The facade’s specific connection with the night time created an interesting juxtaposition of interpretation depending on what time of day you experienced it and whether or not the occupants were home, i.e. lights on/off.

With the time at Tyler completed, the attendees were invited to make their away to The Print Center in the Rittenhouse Square area of Philadelphia. I declined because of incoming rain and wanting to get back home that day, a 2.5 hour drive without stops. But even without seeing the current print exhibitions, the day was a lot of fun and I look forward to attending again next year.

Semester’s End

Just a short update this week with the semester’s end overwhelming my schedule as always. I have been meeting with my collaborators on new projects and there will be some interesting ideas and experiments coming down the pike.

A quick clue would be this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SQggDnScsvI

I’ll be in Philadelphia for the Print Think symposium at Tyler School of Art in two weeks. If you will be there, drop me a message to meet up.

Conference Recovery

The SGC International 2016 conference in Portland, OR was a blast as always, but it takes time to recover. It didn’t help I was stuck on East Coast time the whole 5 days and couldn’t sleep past 5:30 or 6 am. Yet, even with lack of sleep, the conference was a full on, high octane run from start to finish.

Wednesday started it off with John Risseeuw‘s Keynote Speech about his career and work. For those that don’t know, John was my committee chair for my MFA thesis and a big influence on me in graduate school. He and Joe Segura were the two that pushed me the most and got my creative juices flowing. John’s Keynote was a great retrospective of his career, from his transition from a chemistry to art focus in undergrad, through his experiments with edible printing ink into establishing ASU’s book arts program and printmaking focus as power houses in our field.

John giving his keynote.

John giving his keynote.

After his keynote, there was a reception for a retrospective exhibition of his work. It was really well attended and amazing to see some work I had not seen before and others I was well acquainted with. Two Maryland students who attended the conference were blown away just after that first day, so they were in for a surprise.

John's exhibition reception

John’s exhibition reception

Thursday morning was the first realization I might not transition to Pacific Coast time, but I got up and started the day with a nice walk around Portland (as I did every morning). The Keynote Speech for James Rosenquist started off well, but became a little controversial with a comment by one of the panelists. I should say that James was unable to attend because of his health, so it was instead lead by a panel of two master printers who have worked with James, a local Portland print collector and lead by a PNCA art history professor. The controversial comment, to paraphrase, referred to one of the master printers saying collaboration was like dancing, so he know how it fell to be a woman and be lead. It sparked an immediate uproar of booing and was discussed multiple times over the weekend.

That was followed up by some demos on PSU’s campus before returning for the panel “Efflux: Contemporary Native Printmaking,” where my buddy, Jacob Meders, discussed his work alongside Gina Adams and Marwin Begaye.

IMG_1941

Friday was mostly focused around a series of demonstrations that I wanted to see. Specifically the Innovation IncK Laboratory with Erik Waterkotte, Brian Gonzalez, Shannon Collis and Erik Brunvand. They were demonstrating a series of new experiments in printmaking using conductive and thermo-chromic inks. Conductive ink is an ink made with copper particles in it, allowing electricity to pass through the ink and printed area. Thermo-chromic inks are inks that can change color when exposed to cold or heat depending on how you create the initial ink. By printed a resistor ink base, the conductive on top, shaped to your image/pattern, the thermo-chromic ink and then a clear coat, you can pass electricity through the conductive ink to produce heat to cause the thermo-chromic ink to change color.

Saturday was focused around the open portfolio sessions and I was lucky enough to be in two because a friend had purchased a table, but ended up not using it. So for the first two sessions I was able to show off the new CMYK laser engraved woodcuts and the two Intersecting Methods portfolios. There were lots of positive comments on both and about interest in next years call for the 2018 Intersecting Methods portfolio.

Table just before session 1

Table just before session 1

Finally Sunday came around and though I had planned to take full advantage of being in Portland for a full day before my flight, the conference had wiped me out. As I originally said, it was a great time, but its exhausting.

Portland Sunrise

Portland Sunrise

Now that I am fully recovered from the conference its on to planning for next years! I will be chairing a panel entitled “Intersecting Methods” at the 2017 conference in Atlanta. Here is the panel description:

The panel, Intersecting Methods, will explore the intersection of science and printmaking from multiple angles. The scientific method; hypothesis, experiment, examine the results, move forward or alter a variable, is similar to the method printmakers use to create explore a new idea; imagine a work, experiment with techniques, criticize the result and either move forward with the edition or try something new. This relationship has been building in the past 20 years with the rise of digital technology has been brought into the studio and integrated with professional practice.

Intersecting Methods aims to explore this relationship between scientific research and printmaking through examples of collaboration, research, process improvement, technology integration and more. Can printmaking be expanded by collaboration with the sciences? Has it already happened? Can printmaking improve or alter scientific research through artistic exploration? These questions and more will be investigated.

Application is open until June 1st and can be found here: http://sgciatlanta.com/Apply-Tier-2-Panelists.html. So if you have any interest, please submit. All accepted applicants will receive half off registration for the Atlanta conference and I think it will be another good one with the Zuckerman Museum of Art at Kennesaw State University now housing the SGC International Archives.

I will be meeting with Ryan Hackett and Dr. Charles Delwiche in the coming week, so there will be another update in a few weeks to discuss how those collaborations are going and what else may be coming down the pike.

Intersecting Methods 2016: Almost There

And again, I bring you two more prints from the Intersecting Methods portfolio. Today, we reveal the editions of David Gerhard and Douglas Bosley. Click here for David’s bio post and click here for Douglas’.

Here is David’s statement about his print.

“Manufactured Rainbow,” Inkjet Print on Dutch Etching Paper & Limited Edition Access to Digital Files, 14”x18”, 2016

 Friendships come and go. Intersecting for a brief period, friendships can be on and off, and sometimes for a longer part of our lives. Manufactured Rainbows is more about these kinds of friendships than about an artist and scientist coming together to work on an academic project. Once much closer, we had always wanted to work together on a print. During the months that followed, we saw less of each other, and found the first and second meeting to be planning a project that didn’t end up the way we had planned.

 Manufactured Rainbows is chronicling our conversations working out David’s idea to manufacture a 3D printing rainbow machine out of a silo. Manufactured Rainbows is also showing the interaction of people who used to be close friends whose relationship changed over time. Life took us in different directions, but our friendship became archived in our project notes. The imagery originated with the sighting of a rainbow in the sky, but was digitally augmented so many times that it became a semblance of the real thing, an abstract document of an actual event. The final print includes text directly referencing our meeting notes creating a sort of dialogue. We leave our viewers with a parting gift, sort of a party favor for stepping into a moment of our friendship.

Douglas wrote this statement for his print.

“Isomorphous Replacement,” Mezzotint, 18”x14”, 2016

 One of the main tools for protein structure determination is Fourier Analysis, or the mathematical description of a complex waveform as a sum of constituent sine functions.  A sample protein crystal is bombarded with a beam of x-rays and the diffraction from those rays measured.  The diffraction pattern is a series of thousands of tiny dots.  These individual dots or intensities can be represented as sine waves, and the sum of these waves corresponds to electron density in the sample.

 Performing these calculations would be relatively straightforward if not for one thing.  To define a sine wave three terms are required: amplitude, wavelength, and phase.  The first two are readily determined from the diffraction data, but not the phase. Measuring both phase and amplitude simultaneously in a single measurement is impossible due to the uncertainty principle.  This is called the ‘phase problem,’ and several techniques exist for estimating or determining a useful phases. 

 This print deals with the phase problem, and one possible solution called ‘isomorphous replacement.’  Two or more isomorphous derivatives of the target protein are created with metal ions incorporated.  Since metal atoms are heavier than the organic atoms that typically make up a protein, they can be easily picked out from a special waveform of the data called a Patterson Function (the square of the amplitude is used in place of the unknown phase term).  Once located, the intensities of the heavy atoms can be compared to the contributions of the native protein.  In a vector space it is then possible to solve for the phase at the locations of heavy atom replacement; with two derivatives and one native protein this is akin to triangulation of the correct phase.  These phases can be used to estimate phases for the remaining intensities, and thus calculate a low-resolution electron density function for the entire protein.  With initial estimates of phases the density function will appear blobby, and may have large regions of false positive or negative density.  However, phase estimates can be improved by statistical modeling, and the whole model is iteratively improved since each improved phase estimate will yield better estimates in the future.

There is one final print for the 2016 Intersecting Methods portfolio. Sadly, the participant has had some trouble finishing the edition. Once, I receive the final print I will post it on the blog, create a page on the R&D editions website and begin working on preparing the two portfolios for possible future exhibitions.

Intersecting Methods 2016: Cannot Stop Yet

And again, I bring you two more prints from the Intersecting Methods portfolio. Today, we reveal the editions of Amze Emmons and Jon Goebel. Click here for Amze’s bio post and click here for Jon’s.

Here is Amze’s statement about his print.

What It Provides or Furnishes/What it offers the Animal,” Screenprint, 18”x14” or 14”x18”, 2016

In their first collaboration, Dr. Jeremy Teissére and Amze Emmons delved into body- and subject-centered definitions of consciousness and perception. Emerging from close readings of two texts, Anecdote of the Jar by the poet Wallace Stevens and Theory of Affordances, a chapter excerpted from James J. Gibson’s The Ecological Approach to Visual Perception, the work captures the ‘aliveness of objects’ for the body.  Together they are interested in how objects act as silent symbols to guide the behavior of the body and orient one in a landscape.  Gibson’s interest in a more gestalt and direct philosophy of perception led to his coinage of ‘affordances’, or the properties of an object that implicitly tell a body how to use that object.  Thus, door handles, buttons, switches, cups, hammers, pencils, spoons have affordances that guide our actions and shape the many thousand unconscious micro-movements that we make to use them.  Likewise, in Stevens’ Anecdote of the Jar, objects loom larger than life, animated seemingly from their own ‘consciousness’ that we afford them, and in so doing, allow them to control and manipulate our movements through the worlds they co-construct.  Working from these documents our collaborators spent a great deal of time excitedly talking, drinking coffee, and making incomprehensible flow charts.

Since this was Teissére’s first printmaking collaboration, and Emmons’ first attempt to visualize a conversation on the nature of perception, the pair adopted several constraints to inform a non-linear call-and-response model of making the print. First, they wanted a print that would also model the ideas they were attempting to visualize. Second, they would work from several closed sets of source material. And lastly, in printing they would leverage color and transparency in an intuitive method for combining visual information. 

What It Provides or Furnishes

One side of the print depicts a ‘landscape’ of appropriated scientific illustrations of protein structures loosely drawn from Teissére’s laboratory research mapping the allopregnanolone (ALLO) and benzodiazepine binding sites on the gamma-aminobutyric acid Type A receptor (GABAR). This landscape is populated with pop-up buttons from children’s toys, labeled with text taken from Gibson’s writing on affordances. The landscape is a zany visualization of the ecological approach to perception with the component proteins of our brain’s neural network literally defining the nature of the environment, punctuated by annotated affordances. 

What it offers the Animal 

Another side of the print, a composite portrait looks out. Underlying is a participant in a Ganzfeld-effect experiment, in which a person’s eyes and ears are covered to block sensory stimulus.  Famously, in this experiment, the brain thus deprived of external sights and sounds, begins fabricating and filling in virtual sensory experience from the neural noise of perceptory absence.  Overlaid is another kind of portrait, a map of eye movements tracking a human face from an experiment by the Russian psychologist Alfred Yarbus in the early 20th century.  Out of the head explode electroencephalogram (EEG) traces taken from Teissére’s experiments in sensory perception, constructed into 3D paper models, and then photographed. 

By making a two sided print, the collaborators present the audience with a binary affordance (recto/verso) in two sorts of objects, a landscape and a portrait, requiring a decision and an interaction.

Jon wrote this statement for his print.

“Ephemeral Horizon,” Laser cut Plexiglas with hand engraved work, Printing: Relief, monotype, and intaglio, 18”x14”, 2016

This project was in collaboration with Dr. Neil Scott of the Makery (Hilo, HI). The initial project was to cut duplicate designs from multiple thicknesses of Plexiglas to create various levels suitable for color viscosity printing. The proofs were interesting, but not on par with my vision. I decided to engrave some of the pieces. The circles were stood on by myself and I spun around on one foot to create the drypoint texture on the pieces. They were additionally attached to a rotating base and engraved to get additional depth. Other pieces were inked like a monotype print, others relief rolled, and some wiped intaglio. There were many variations in this proofing process, but I am happy with the final color scheme. 

The title “Ephemeral Horizons” is purposefully ambiguous. The piece is inspired by Hawaiian landscape and the sky and embraces the notion that our thoughts, dreams, life, and the universe are all momentary things.

Next week will be the SGC International conference in Portland, OR. I will be there for one of the open portfolio sessions with all the prints from the Intersecting Methods 2014 and 2016 portfolio and some personal work. I will post in Instagram, Facebook, etc the session and location of my table when I receive that information this Wednesday.

Check in again next Sunday for two more prints.

Intersecting Methods 2016: Reveal Continues

I bring you two more prints from the Intersecting Methods portfolio. Today, we reveal the editions of Heather Parrish and Andy Rubin. Click here for Heather’s bio post and click here for Andy’s.

Heather wrote this statement for her print.

“Dystopic Solutions: Bio-remediation,” Inkjet print and Screenprint on Mylar, mounted to stonehenge paper, 14″x18″, 2016

The research interests of artist Heather Parrish and Dr. Elizabeth Hénaff intersect in a shared fascination with the mutually-creative relationship between inhabitant and environment. While this has taken them both down various investigative pathways, they chose to focus their collaboration on the Gowanus Canal – a stream-turned-industrial-waste-depository in Brooklyn, New York. With around 10 feet of toxic sludge resting on the bottom, the accumulated off-casts of decades of paint, pesticide and coal production (to name a few), it has been designated a ‘Superfund Site’ by the Environmental Protection Agency. As a simultaneously beloved and feared central artery of the Gowanus neighborhood, it is also the focus of Hénaff’s current research project. She is part of a team analyzing the microbiome that resides in the toxic sludge, discovering their metabolic functions and survival adaptations for this extreme environment. Finding organisms that work to break down the human-produced toxins, Hénaff hopes to foster their colonies and harness their evolved and natural remediating functions. Parrish spent one month in Brooklyn with Henaff exploring the many facets of the canal and Hénaff’s research. The image for this portfolio was a made with a hand-crank 35mm film movie-maker camera. The text is derived from a sampling of both the toxins and bio-remediating microorganisms found in the canal. This print is the genesis of an on-going, multi-modal, collaborative body of work centered on the Gowanus Canal.

Here is Andy’s statement.

“Xtal Omics Fractured Fairy Tales,” Lithograph, 18″x14″, 2016

Brian Fox is a professor/scientist in Fermentation and Biochemistry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Andy Rubin is a Master Printer and currently visiting assistant professor in Art at Indiana University in Bloomington. Our mutual concern, ( scientifically and artistically)  has been the human environmental impact/damage from climate change and our consuming need for , and use of, fossil fuels.

     Brian’s research  delves into the nature and structure of proteins. His main research is probing the active residuals of protein substrates and how it interfaces with the oxidation of hydrocarbons. This research breaks down proteins and investigates what they eat, how they grow, and how they can be manipulated to achieve a positive solution to a ongoing problem with our planets environmental dilemma. 

     In going through visualizations of this process,  I had the idea of stacking the images he sent me into a human form ( the enzymic snowman) to illustrate the dilemma of how we look at (environmental )information .  This figure then examines the world of natural science (the pile of Rocks) to look for clues in how to understand its elements. This starts the scientific inquisition/research needed to solve the problems created by our unquenched desire to pollute and destroy the planet for profit.

     The third panel is a mis-representation of the “Golden Mean”. This symbol of Universal perfection is included to remind us all that inquisition into the nature of science, starts with a pre-possessed image of how we understand the world.  Science , like art, builds upon a culmination of knowledge and  information. Whether this information is right or wrong  depends on circumstances and time.

      Brian’s research may indeed , one-day, change the world. The break down of the proteins he is studying may develop a petroleum eating enzyme that can clean the oceans of oil-slicks. In illustrating this potential (of “humankind’s“ questioning and inquisitive nature through science), Brian and I have created an image where science steps back and reflects on what is needed to solve the problems facing our world today.

Check back in a week for another set of prints from the Intersecting Methods 2016 biennial portfolio.