april, 2017

06apr9:00 am5:00 pmA Centenary of On Growth and Form: Celebrating connections between art and science

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Event Details

43rd Annual Conference & Art Book Fair
Loughborough University
6th to 8th April 2017


Catherine Jolivette, Missouri State University, CatherineJolivette@missouristate.edu

2017 marks the 100th anniversary of the publication of Scottish biologist and mathematician D’Arcy Wentworth Thompson’s celebrated book, On Growth and Form, a text that has stimulated and enthralled artists for a century with its sophisticated writing and elegant illustrations. This groundbreaking volume draws upon mathematics, chemistry, physics, biology, and philosophy to explore the geometrical transformations, physical mechanisms, and dynamic patterns of growth in plants and animals.
Over the last hundred years, Thompson’s study of morphology has inspired an eclectic range of pioneering thinkers including scientists (for example Stephen Jay Gould), architects (like Mies van der Rohe), and mathematicians (such as Alan Turing), and artists ranging from Henry Moore, Ben Nicholson, and Wilhelmina Barns-Graham, to Richard Hamilton and Nigel Henderson, who staged their own ‘Growth and Form’ exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in 1951. More recently, historians, such as Lynn Gamwell, have investigated the intertwining relationships between art, mathematics, science, and philosophy while contemporary artists, including British sculptor Ian Kiaer and Venezuelan artist Gego, continue to respond to Thompson’s work.

In the spirit of D’Arcy Wentworth Thompson, this session explores connections between the visual arts and science across the span of the last hundred years. Papers in this session address both the discursive context in which Thompson wrote On Growth and Form and the reception and influence of the book from the time of its publication to the present day, as scholars employ cross disciplinary approaches to engage with exchanges of ideas across Europe, Japan, and North America.

Brandon Taylor (University of Southampton / Oxford University) On Growth, Form and Vitalism

Kelly Freeman (University College London) Growing Bones – D’Arcy Thompson and the formation of the skeleton concept

Pat Simpson (University of Hertfordshire) 1917: Revolution, Art, and Darwinism

Yang Chen (Central Saint Martins) Staging the Integration of Art and Machine: The 5th Experimental Workshop Presentation by Jikken Kobo

Cliona O’Dunlaing (University of Essex) The Dialectics of Entropy and the Crystalline in Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty

John R. Blakinger (University of Southern California) Images for Extraterrestrials: Carl Sagan’s Voyager Interstellar Record and Trevor Paglen’s EchoStar XVI Disc

Lucy Winnington (University of Edinburgh) Recoding the Stars: The Art and Science of Contemporary Cosmography

Camilla Mørk Røstvik (University of St Andrews) Contemporary SciArt and Old Power Dynamics


(Thursday) 9:00 am - 5:00 pm GMT


Loughborough University

Epinal Way, Loughborough LE11 3TU


Association of Art Historians

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