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.
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
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.
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
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