Creativity and Curiosity: A Collaboration between Artists and Astronomers

8 February until 14 March

Creativity and Curiosity is an established art/science project led by contemporary artists Gillian McFarland SSA and Ione Parkin RWA. For this exhibition, opening at An Lanntair as part of the Hebridean Dark Skies Festival, they will show a selection of the artwork created through their on-going collaborations with astrophysicists, cosmologists and planetary geologists.

Gillian and Ione are also teaming up with An Lanntair to curate A Day of Creativity and Curiosity, a day of collaborations and conversations between artists and astronomers on Saturday 8 February.

Ione Parkin’s large-scale abstract paintings express her fascination about the early formation of the universe; massive clouds of cosmic dust and gas; vast webs of colour and shimmering light; luminous visions of immensity. Her richly textured mixed-media works on paper are inspired by planetary surfaces, extremes of temperature and geological process. They resemble samples of the undiscovered terrain of distant moons.

Gillian McFarland collaborates with the glass-blower, Graeme Hawes, using experimental techniques to produce multiple ‘space globes’ that echo ideas of rotation, expansion and contraction. She works with extreme heat and the raw materials of silica, nitrates and UV-sensitive uranium glass. Her collagraph rust prints and punctured paper works explore orbit tracking across otherwise untouched space.

This exhibition includes the work of contemporary book artist, Kate Bernstein, who has joined the C&C project for Research Visits to the Royal Astronomical Society’s collection.

“I always think the work you do is amazing and beautiful. It is as if you are creating your own Universe of planets, stars and galaxies. Ione’s paintings seem to represent all the possible surfaces of the planets from frozen worlds in the depth of planetary chill, to hot sulphuric, young worlds just forming from the nebulae surrounding their host stars. In Gillian’s work I see the delicate tracery of ring systems and swirling colliding groups of stars and galaxies and her own take on exotic planets orbiting distant stars.” Martin Barstow, Director, Leicester Institute of Space & Earth Observation and Professor of Astrophysics & Space Science, University of Leicester.

Ione Parkin is an abstract painter, an elected member of the Royal West of England Academy (RWA) and an Honorary Visiting Fellow of the Department of Physics & Astronomy at the University of Leicester.

Gillian McFarland is a visual artist, arts therapist/educator and a member of the Scottish Society of Artists.

Project exhibitions include: Cambridge Science Festival (2017); National Space Centre (2018); Zeiss-Grossplanetarium, Berlin (November 2018) and Glasgow Science Centre (July 2019).  Presentations and Panel Discussions include: NAM/EWASS 2018, Liverpool, UK; ‘Road to the Stars’ Conference, Santiago de Compostela, Spain; Berlin Science Week (November 2018); Royal Astronomical Society; Royal Observatory Greenwich (Sept 2019).