Astronomy inspires artists

Thursday 10 May 2018

Pam Bains Carolyn Lewens workshops

Dr Sarah Bird (left), Pamela Bain (centre) and Dian Triani (right) during one of the artists' regular art workshops with astronomy staff and PhD students.

In summary

  • The Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing has been hosting two “in-house artists”: Pamela Bain and Carolyn Lewens
  • Drawing inspiration from astrophysics programs, the artists have produced an exhibition DEEPER DARKER BRIGHTER
  • Exhibition is at the Hawthorn Town Hall Gallery from 12 May-1 July 

Over the last six months, the Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing has been hosting two in-house artists: Pamela Bain and Carolyn Lewens.

The artists were inspired after being present at one of the Deeper Wider Faster real time observing programs - led by Associate Professor Jeff Cooke - which is searching for the fastest explosions in the Universe, fast radio bursts and other deep space phenomena, from a control room at Swinburne’s Hawthorn campus.

The resulting exhibition, DEEPER DARKER BRIGHTER, has taken this science and conveyed it through art, into visual and sensory experiences.

Pam Bains

Through a Portal Lightly | Pamela Bains 

Experimental artist Pamela Bains explores the concepts of spatial orientation in relation to our personal environment. Through a passion for astrophotography, Ms Bain has created artworks such as Biotic Cosmic, an observation that humans and the Universe share mutual composition and thus, connection.

Ms Bain’s artwork uses her impaired vision as a motivation to produce work that incorporates magnifying components to then reflect the atmosphere of observatories and telescopes used in studying outer space. 

“Expect a playground of creative wonders that references the flashing explosions in the cosmic realm and what it takes to scientifically catch them,” says Ms Bain.

Bursting light

Bursting Light | Pamela Bains 

Carolyn Lewens also shares a passion for science and art. Her love for photography and the manipulation of pre-photographic processes and the post-production phase expresses the obscurity of shadows through the use of imagery, sound data, and text. Lewens’ work is a discussion of issues between art and science, focusing on climate change, existentialism and what may exist in the depths of water and space.

“For this project, I want to show the strangeness of what might be out there in deep space, the mystery and otherness rather than the beauty, though there is a kind of strange uncanny beauty in my work that I hope fascinates viewers and keeps them wondering.” Says Ms Lewens.  

Carolyn Lewens

In the Photic Zone | Carolyn Lewens 

The exhibition will include an animation of the Deeper, Wider, Faster program prepared by Swinburne animator James Josephides.

The artists have also been running regular art workshops with astronomy staff and PhD students, giving them the opportunity to show off their creative side and produce their own artworks, some of which appears in the exhibition alongside the professional work.

“Arts and science are both highly creative fields. They both require research, experimentation, and a willingness to move in unexpected directions as the work unfolds.” says Associate Professor Christopher Fluke, who has been hosting the artists,

“It has been particularly pleasing to see the way Pam and Carolyn have been welcomed into the daily life of the Centre for Astrophysics & Supercomputing, and the creative impact they are having on staff and students through their weekly Art Workshops.”

Gallery visitors can hear directly from the artists to gain a deeper understanding of the artworks and the exhibition at a walk and talk tour at 1.00pm on Saturday 12 May.

Town Hall Gallery’s exhibition DEEPER DARKER BRIGHTER will be showing from Saturday 12 May - Sunday 1 July.