"small problems, Big Trouble": An Art and Science Collaborative Exhibition Reflecting Seemingly small problems Leading to Big Threats
Abstract:"small problems, Big Trouble" (spBT) is an exhibition of artist Judith Waller’s paintings accompanied by text panels written by Earth scientist Dr. James A. Brey and several science researchers and educators. The text panels’ message is as much the focus of the show as the art--true interdisciplinarity! Waller and Brey’s history of art and earth science collaborations include the successful exhibition "Layers: Places in Peril". New in spBT is extended collaboration with other scientists in order to create awareness of geoscience and other subjects (i.e. soil, parasites, dust, pollutants, invasive species, carbon, ground water contaminants, solar wind) small in scale which pose significant threats.
The paintings are the size of a mirror, a symbol suggesting the problems depicted are those we increasingly need to face, noting our collective reflections of shared current and future reality. Naturalistic rendering and abstract form in the art helps reach a broad audience including those familiar with art and those familiar with science. The goal is that gallery visitors gain greater appreciation and understanding of both—and of the sober content of the show as a whole.
"small problems, Big Trouble" premiers in Wisconsin April, 2015. As in previous collaborations, Waller and Brey actively utilize art and science (specifically geoscience) as an educational vehicle for active student learning. Planned are interdisciplinary university and area high school activities linked through spBT. The exhibition in a public gallery offers a means to enhance community awareness of and action on scientific issues through art’s power to engage people on an emotional level.
This AGU presentation includes a description of past Waller and Brey activities: incorporating art and earth science in lab and studio classrooms, producing gallery and museum exhibitions and delivering workshops and other presentations. They also describe how walking the paths of several past earth science disasters continues to inspire new chapters in their "Layers: Places in Peril" exhibit! A slide show includes images of paintings for "small problems, Big Trouble". Brey and Waller will lead a discussion on their process of incorporating broader collaboration with geoscientists and others in an educational art exhibition.