D'Arcy Thompson was Dundee's first Professor of Biology and his celebrated book On Growth and Form (1917) not only gave scientists a new way of understanding life, but has also been profoundly influential for artists, designers and architects. His surviving natural history collections, now displayed in the D'Arcy Thompson Zoology Museum, are also a great source of inspiration for artists. In these two exhibitions we showcase work by four artists who have drawn on D'Arcy's ideas and collections.
In the Tower Foyer Gallery, painter Mark Wright draws on visual imagery sourced from organic structures and forms, exploring ideas of visual perception and concepts of beauty in the exhibition Unnatural Wonders. Mark is a Lecturer in Fine Art at Loughborough University and has exhibited widely in theUK and internationally. He will be showing a series of his large scale oil paintings, two of which have already been acquired for theUniversity of Dundee’s art collections.
The exhibition in the Lamb Gallery takes its title, "Drawn from Structures Living and Dead", from D'Arcy Thompson's celebrated book On Growth and Form. The three artists featured work in various media but all of them use drawing as a starting point to help understand the natural world.
Gemma Anderson is based in Falmouth and is undertaking a PhD on isomorphology, looking at shared patterns across different natural forms and the role of the artist in helping scientists to understand these.
Mirna Sarajlic is based in Dundee and recently completed the Masters of Fine Art course at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design, for which she created a series of detailed etchings of animals. She will be showing some of these as well as new prints created specially for the exhibition based on specimens in the D’Arcy Thompson Zoology Museum.
Lindsay Sekulowicz is based in London and was artist-in-residence in the D'Arcy Thompson Zoology Museum during the summer as part of a collaboration with the Barns Graham Charitable Trust and the Royal Scottish Academy. She will be showing some of the results of her residency, including drawings and sculptural pieces.
Friday 18 January, 5.15pm
D'Arcy Thompson Lecture Theatre, Tower Building
Free talk by Mark Wright
To launch the exhibition Unnatural Wonders, painter Mark Wright will give an illustrated talk about his work, his interest in natural science and the particular influence that D'Arcy Thompson has had on his art.
Saturday 26 January, 2-4.30pm
Meet in the Lamb Gallery, Tower Building
Animal Art: a Drawing Workshop in the Zoology Museum with artist Jennifer Robson
The specimens, models and charts in the Zoology Museum are a fantastic inspiration for artists. In this special session, artist Jennifer Robson will introduce the collection as a resource for drawing, guiding you through some of the techniques involved in drawing from museum objects. Some previous drawing experience would be helpful but the event is open to anyone with a creative interest regardless of ability. The workshop will focus on fun, freedom and building confidence in your art. Whether you are an amateur or a professional it will help you enjoy what you do.
Wednesday 20 February, 5.30pm
Room T4, Lamb Gallery, Tower Building
Free talk by Lindsay Sekulowicz
To accompany the exhibition “Drawn from Structures Living and Dead”, artist Lindsay Sekulowicz will give an illustrated talk about her work in the show, and her experiences as artist-in-residence in the D’Arcy Thompson Zoology Museum.
Monday 4 March, 5.30pm
D'Arcy Thompson Lecture Theatre, Tower Building
Public Lecture by Dr Petra Lange-Berndt - Subsculpture: Assembling a Museum of Attractions
Since the early twentieth century artists have been commenting critically on public displays of Museums of Natural History. This lecture by Petra Lange-Berndt, art historian at University College London, will focus on the work of Mark Dion and Mike Kelley as example to discuss the differing strategies used by artists and natural history curators.
Tuesday 19 March, 6pm
D'Arcy Thompson Zoology Museum, Carnelley Building
Curator's talk - A Sketch of the Universe: Building the Bridge between Science and Art
In this special talk organised by the Art Fund, curator Matthew Jarron talks about the influence of D'Arcy Thompson in the visual arts and discusses the acquisitions made so far as part of an Art Funded project to build a collection of art inspired by D'Arcy's work and collections.
After the talk there will be an opportunity to see some of the artworks on display in the museum.
Acts of Displacement - exhibition by Masters of Fine Art students
To accompany the new exhibitions, the D'Arcy Thompson Zoology Museum is playing host to the Masters of Fine Art students from DJCAD, who are creating site-specific artworks and installation pieces in response to this amazing venue. Their work can be seen on Fri 18 Jan 6.30-8pm in the Zoology Museum, Carnelley Building, and on other special openings on 2 February and 2 March. Click here for more information.