Visions of Science Art Prize - Winners Announced

We are thrilled to announce the winners of our Visions of Science Art Prize.

 

This Art Prize saw over 300 submissions inspired by scientific phenomena studied at the University of Bath, including works from emerging and established artists from across the UK.

Science is the University’s largest faculty and researches themes across biology, chemistry, computer science, mathematical sciences, pharmacy & pharmacology and physics. The fascinating research has inspired a diverse range of works – from sculptures which examine genetics, to drawings that explore climate change, and paintings which imitate and illustrate concepts from biology and physics.

Our judges Suki Chan, Will Hunter and Nina Chhita spent many hours pouring over each and every artwork submitted and are pleased to conclude that the prizes go to Priya Odedra (First Prize), Heather Jukes (Second Prize), and Ruth Webster (University of Bath Community Art Prize). We are also thrilled to announce the winner of our People’s Choice Prize is Holly Ellard.

Art Prize Winner: Priya Odedra

Arborometer (2018) is an interactive installation, which encourages the viewer to critically analyse anthropocentric ideals and consider future ‘eco-centric’ landscapes.

Visitors enter the geodesic dome containing soil, water and olive trees. Inside, biosensors measure their heart rate and galvanic skin response (or sweat production) – indicators of their physiological and emotional response to the environment. The information is connected to grow lights and speakers underneath a pool of water, through a biotechnological feedback loop. Each experience is unique to the individual and depicts their emotional connection to natural environment within the dome. Can such experiences promote eco-conscious behaviour?

“This piece is incredibly captivating, and what stood out most to me is the dialogue between the piece and viewer through using cutting-edge technology. Seeing the impact in response to nature will certainly be powerful.” -Nina Chhita

“We felt this piece really encapsulated the criteria through which we were scoring. There was a really important and clear scientific message behind it with a really creative and slick artistic presentation. It was a clear front runner for me.” -Will Hunter

“The fusion of architecture, innovative materials and biotechnology in Aborometer creates an immersive, playful interactive experience, provoking the audience to reconsider their relationship to the natural world. In our post-Covid-19 world, artists help us to re-imagine the new world – Odedra’s ambitious work seeks to promote eco-conscious behaviour.” -Suki Chan

I’m incredibly grateful for this prize and acknowledge that the current climate has been an extremely difficult time for artists everywhere. I hope to develop my creative practice and research with this unique opportunity, as well as continue to promote the interdisciplinary dialogue between art and science.Priya Odedra

Art Prize Second Place Winner: Heather Jukes


Luna (2018)

Luna (2018) explores ideas in genetics through sculpture and reflects on DNA as a core part of our genetic identity. This work references the exclusively maternal transmission of human mitochondrial DNA. Interlocking female bodies provide linear bony structures akin to a vertebral column with its inherent strength and stability.

    • “This piece stood out immediately to me. The science behind the piece is incredibly strong, where the concept around mitochondrial DNA inheritance is represented so clearly. What I loved most about this piece is how it works on so many levels, which will no doubt spark a lot of thought from the viewer. For example, the form of the women, the style, the positioning of the figures, and the final shape they make.” -Nina Chhita
    • “I loved the depth of this piece and the multiple messages it communicates. It took me a little while to really appreciate it! The adoptions of classic techniques, the choice of the maternal female figure, the simplicity but strength of the design were all reasons this stood out for me.” -Will Hunter
    • “The spine-like interlocking forms of Juke’s sculpture tells the story of the female form from a different perspective, successfully encompassing maternal biology, matrilineage into an artwork that is both sensual and haptic.” -Suki Chan

    My passion is making art, mostly sculptural, which draws on ideas and knowledge in biology, generally genetics. I had a career in genetics before returning to uni, to study Fine Art. My piece Luna references mitochondrial DNA and its exclusively maternal transmission. Each female figure gives rise to the next in a linear descent.Heather Jukes

University of Bath Community Art Prize Winner: Ruth Webster

Lockdown Research: Saturday 10am (Slight Return)

“Certain groups and demographics have been greatly affected by the coronavirus outbreak, and although not as severe or extreme, the impact of the global pandemic (and ensuing lockdown) on scientific research has been immense. Parents, and in particular female researchers have been negatively impacted more than those researchers without childcare responsibilities. This series of photos presents the viewer with a snapshot of a typical scene, when I, as a principal investigator leading a group of PhD students and postdoctoral researchers, try to snatch a few hours at the weekend to do the job I love.”

  • “A fantastic piece of work, which I’m sure will resonate with many during these times — It provides a unique snapshot of what research may entail.” -Nina Chhita
  • “I read a report the other day that numbers of publications from female academics had majorly decreased during lockdown and I think this photo really summarises the struggle that a lot of academics are currently going through – and managing the childcare/work balance. It also continues to reiterate the issues about lack of gender balance in senior positions in academia for the same reason which has been ongoing for years. I think it’s really important we capture that experience to continue to highlight the importance to support female academics and show that you can have an academic career and children without compromising either.” -Will Hunter
  • “Webster’s photo-collage is a bold and honest portrayal of the struggles of a female scientific researcher during lockdown. It is a window into a reality that is rarely spoken of. The piece resonates beyond the art and science sectors as many of us try to balance remote work with family.” -Suki Chan

People's Choice Prize Winner: Holly Ellard

DNA: The Backbone of Life

“My compulsion to understand the scientific intricacies of biological processes has driven my passion for genetics and lead me to pursue a career in this field. This acrylic painting on canvas was inspired by the growing power of genomics in science; DNA acts as a universal system to store and encode the biochemical instructions for life.

Our increasing understanding of this code has been harnessed in several areas of biological science. Slight differences in our DNA and how it is expressed make us unique. I explored the concept of genetic identity with a self-portrait resonating on the role of DNA as the backbone of life, embedded into a representation of a classic genetic technique called gel electrophoresis, used to profile an individual’s DNA.”

My passion for genetics stems from my desire to understand the intricacies of biological processes, consistently resolving in the function of DNA – this piece was inspired by the fundamental role genetics plays in shaping life as we know it. I am so happy to have been part of this competition and am honoured to have won the People’s Choice Prize.Holly Ellard

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Visions of Science - Shortlist Announced

From over 300 submissions, we are thrilled to announce the shortlist for the Visions of Science Art Prize 2020.