New Exhibit Kicks Off the U.S. Celebration of IYC 2011

The Periodic Table Printmaking Project, 2007, by Jennifer Schmitt

May 1, 2011 - Zürich, Switzerland

From Chemistry International, May 1, 2011, vol. 33, no. 3

by Chris Brouwer and Madeline Schaefer

What happens when you take contemporary art and mix in some chemistry? In the case of a new exhibit at the Chemical Heritage Foundation in Philadelphia, you get a dynamic and compelling way to experience the elements and the periodic table. Elemental Matters: Artists Imagine Chemistry, which opened on 4 February 2011 at CHF’s Clifford C. Hach Gallery, features 15 works by seven artists as well as a group project involving nearly 100 artists. More than 250 guests attended the exhibit opening, as did the seven main artists who were on hand to discuss their works.

Ranging from graceful to moving to mysterious, the pieces comprising the exhibit explore the elements as symbol, raw material, or energy through a multitude of media: printmaking, sculpture, photography, outdoor installations, and audio recordings. Elemental Matters enlivens the senses with a lightness and energy belying the rather cozy exhibit space. “I don’t think the space has ever looked happier,” said curator Marjorie Gapp.

The exhibit is one of the key components of CHF’s plans for celebrating the International Year of Chemistry 2011, and, as such, is meant to appeal to the general public as well as chemists. The inspiration behind the exhibit, according to Gapp, is to show how artists, like scientists, help us to see and understand the elemental world. This concept is clearly evident throughout the disparate works. In fact, a recurring theme among the artists and their creations is the similarity between chemists and artists. . . .

Elemental Matters is elegant and perceptive, diverse and engaging. The exhibit asks those who experience it to reconsider the role of chemistry and chemical processes in our everyday lives, effectively bridging the gap between the arts and the sciences. Elemental Matters will be on display at CHF through 16 December 2011.

(Link to CI)


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