Science as Art

Thursday Jul 12, 2018

Additional Dates:

725 Canyon Rd
Santa Fe, NM 87501

Phone: (505) 986-9800
Website: Click to Visit






Turner Carroll Gallery

Phone: (505) 986-9800
Website: Click to Visit

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Shawn Smith, Rusty Scruby and Matthew Shlian explore the intersectionality between science and art, using works to deconstruct the categorizations used to dichotomize the two subjects.

SANTA FE, NM May 23, 2018] -The realms of science and art are often considered mutually exclusive; the right hemisphere of the brain is thought to control our artistic and creative abilities, while the left our mathematical and logical skills; science is viewed as linear and precise, whereas art is accepted as open to individual interpretation. However, in Turner Carroll Gallery’s exhibition, Science as Art, artists Shawn Smith, Rusty Scruby, and Matthew Shlian explore the intersectionality between science and art, using their works to deconstruct the categorizations generally used to dichotomize the two subjects. Here, science is used as a medium in the same way as paint or plaster, touching on subjects such as technology, mathematical relationships, and the natural world in a way that uses scientific principles and processes to evoke aesthetic beauty and provoke audience response within the various pieces.

Judy Deaton, curator of The Grace Museum writes “Both science and art are human attempts to understand and describe the world around us. The subjects, materials, and methods have different traditions, but the motivations and goals are fundamentally the same. One of the most primitive innate ‘needs’ of humans is to understand the world around us, and then share that understanding. Both artists and scientists strive to ‘see’ the world in new ways, and communicate that vision. When scientists and artists communicate their insights successfully, the rest of us suddenly ‘see’ the world differently.”

Shawn Smith, one of the forty artists under forty curated into an exhibition at the Smithsonian and written about in a feature article in Wired Magazine, has lofty goals for how his work can change civilization. Smith uses “pixelated” sculptural works of extinct/almost extinct species to emphasize our own detachment from them. By rendering these animals as pixelated versions of their natural selves, he reinforces that contemporary human/animal interaction is often experienced only through technology, rather than in reality.

”My work investigates the slippery intersection between the digital world and reality. Specifically, I am interested in how we experience nature through technology. I grew up in a large city only experiencing the natural world through computers and television screens. With my work, I create three-dimensional sculptural representations of two-dimensional images of nature I find online. I build my objects pixel by pixel with hand-cut, hand-dyed strips of wood in an overtly laborious process in direct contrast to the slipperiness and speed of the digital world. Through this process of pixelation, details become distilled, distorted, or deleted. I am interested in how each pixel plays an important role in the identity of the object, the same way each cell plays a crucial role in the identity of an organism.” Shawn Smith

Rusty Scruby uses his aerospace engineering, musical composition, and mathematics background as the basis of his art. As propounded by the Grace Museum, “Pattern and repetition echo universal laws of science, physics and mathematics and Scruby’s drive to “map” the universe through unseen yet pervasive mathematical relationships. By interweaving complexity theory (random vs. rigid) with music theory (harmony vs. discord) inspired by mathematical repetition, Scruby reveals the tension between the whole and the sum of its parts, between human experience and reality.”

Art historian and gallery owner Tonya Turner Carroll first became aware of Matthew Shlian’s work when he gave an artist lecture at Albuquerque Academy in 2017. Tonya Turner Carroll attended the lecture, and when she saw Matt’s video of his Cranbrook thesis sculpture from 2006, Turner Carroll had the tingley feeling of wonder that made her know she had to show his work. What impressed her most about Shlian’s work was the joy with which he creates it. Though Shlian’s works–like Scruby’s and Smith’s–are unbelievably laborious and verge on compulsion, there is supreme beauty in his careful perfection of form.

It’s no wonder that many public collections who appreciate perfection of form have collaborated or commissioned Shlian to create works for them. Apple, University of Michigan, Queen Rania of Jordan, Cranbrook Academy of Art, Fidelity, Facebook, The British Film Institute, The National Science Foundation, MoMA, Google, Vogue and Christian Dior.

“After a certain high level of technical skill is achieved, science and art tend to coalesce in esthetics, plasticity, and form. The greatest scientists are artists as well.”   Albert Einstein

June 22-July 16 2018

Opening Reception Friday, June 22 5-7pm

Work in the exhibition may be viewed here.

For more information and high resolution images, please visit or