Susan Aldworth (British, b. 1955); Location 26, 2006 from Between Function and Structure; etching and aquatint on paper. Collection of the artist.

Landscapes of the Mind: Contemporary Artists Contemplate the Brain

January 30, 2010 - May 2, 2010

Williams College Museum of Art (WCMA) presents Landscapes of the Mind: Contemporary Artists Contemplate the Brain, featuring artwork drawn from, or inspired by, the brain. On view from January 30 to May 2, 2010, Landscapes of the Mind brings together the artwork of four contemporary artists. On Thursday, February 25, a Season Premiere Party will celebrate the museum’s new winter exhibitions with a gallery talk at 5:30 pm and a public reception at 6:30 pm. These events are free and all are invited to attend.

Landscapes of the Mind includes contemporary work by artists Susan Aldworth, Andrew Carnie, Jessica Rankin, and Katy Schimert. The objects on view visualize the internal processes of the brain such as memory, thought, and perception using a variety of media, including etching, embroidery, sculpture, and an installation of neuron projections. Using the brain as inspiration, each artist is unique in his or her own approach. Susan Aldworth (b. 1955), a British master printer, became interested in the brain as a visual image after she was a neurology patient. Her etchings, called Brainscapes (2006), are based on her observations of patients’ brain scans at the Royal London Hospital. These works allow her to explore consciousness and the sense of self within the physical brain. Andrew Carnie (b. 1957), a British conceptual artist, demonstrates the birth and differentiation of brain cells (neurons) in his installation Magic Forest (2002). Jessica Rankin (b. 1971), an Australian artist inspired by “mental maps,” explores ideas of memory, intuition, and interpretation using embroidery on large-scale pieces of organdy. Katy Schimert (b. 1963), a New York sculptor, is interested in how the internal body mimics the external world. Her sculpture, Brain, a recent gift to the museum, uses simple domestic materials (wire mesh, metal pins, and light bulbs) to represent an over life-size human brain.

Co-curated by Professor of Psychology Betty Zimmerberg and Interim Associate Curator Kathryn Price, Landscapes of the Mind underscores the Williams College Museum of Art’s commitment to multidisciplinary approaches to looking and thinking about art. A variety of programs and events connecting art and science are planned for students, families, and the general public for the duration of the exhibition.

“This exhibition is really special in that it involves so many talented artists and has caught the imagination of so many of our faculty members and students,” explains co-curator Kathryn Price. “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to reach out across disciplines and think about art and science in new ways.”

Supported in part by the Williams College Lecture Committee.

Landscapes of the Mind continues WCMA’s year-long focus on art and landscape—landscape in all of its guises: as topography, sustainer of life, site of conservation activism, cultural icon, metaphor, and object of awe and reverence.

Photos available upon request.

Landscapes of the Mind Web Module