In my life I have been a scientist, an educator, a mother and an artist; and yet I feel that none of these categories in isolation have ever truly encompasses who I felt I was. I inhabit the cracks in between. The connective space, the overlaps – and in that sense I am well placed to bring together these different roles, combining them into artworks.
Much of my recent project has involved bridging those gaps, collaborating with artists and scientists through a community project – Symbiosis. Initially, we came together to discuss a very specific topic, one slightly removed from the everyday for either party. Namely, the issues surrounding being a Woman in Science. It was important from the onset that no one agenda be pushed. For the scientists, it offered a space for discussion aside from their normal working day. For the artists it offered the challenge of supporting those scientists, in giving voice to or responding to their concerns. As part of this process we also explored the nature of Sci-Art collaborations as well as the difference between Art and Data Visualization.
The culmination of this project was exhibited at Tin Roof as part of the Dundee Women in Science Festival 2015 having secured funding from Revealing Research at Dundee University. The curatorial premise of the exhibition was to group together the artworks made to explore issues from those discussions, from those artworks made by scientists (or other collaborations that have emerged from these interactions).
In terms of my own art practice I see myself as a maker. I enjoy the process of bringing a concept into being. Of making a physical object. I do not restrict myself to any specific media, believing that the materials and techniques used should be those that lend themselves to realizing that particular idea or project. On the whole my work explores scientific or existential concerns. However, I find I keep returning to my first love, the human form and in that sense I consider much of my work to be figurative.
Artists that have inspired me include Anthony Gormley, David Mach and Auguste Rodin. These three in particular because they all make objects, mainly figurative, that are striking and ambitious. Their work fills me with that sense of awe and wonder. How did they make that? What made them think of making that? How much of it was actually touched by their own hands or did they just provide the concept and others brought the work into being? – And if they never actually made the object does it make it any less their work? Where is the ‘art’? Is it in the making or the idea?
The next major project I will be working on is an educational installation piece. I want to explore how scientific concepts can be conveyed through the use of art and for this I have chosen a cell. I wanted to choose something relatively simple that relates to the National Curriculum as I would like to invite secondary school children (along with scientist and artists from the University of Dundee) to build this with me. An application has been submitted for support with this project in collaboration with Sarah Hussain and Erin Hardee from the College of Life Sciences.