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Environmental Studies

Student Art Show Draws on Science for Inspiration

Story posted March 27, 2013

Event date(s): March 01, 2013 — June 30, 2015

Instructor Barbara Putnam is encouraging her students to bridge the gap between art and science in her spring semester class, Drawing on Science.
 
“It’s always been my hunch that the two disciplines go together,” Putnam said recently, speaking in the Visual Arts Center among pieces made by her students for their first show. For a short time, black-and-white sculptures and prints of birds and bird-like images filled the Center’s halls. A mobile of migrating birds would flutter slightly every time a nearby door opened.
 
To illustrate her case, Putnam points to the drawings by 19th-century naturalists as an example of where the two fields once more strongly overlapped. “They trusted their eyes more than they trusted the camera,” she said. And she said scientists today are developing visual means of persuasively presenting their discoveries and arguments.
 
This year the Boston-based artist is doing a residency on campus as Bowdoin’s Coastal Studies Scholar. Her own prints and printed quilts explore fragile transitional ecosystems and environmental issues.
 
As a teacher, Putnam says the best way for students to develop their perception is through practice. Besides her regular teaching job at St. Mark’s School in Southborough, Mass., Putnam has taught drawing to geology students at MIT. There, she helped a class learn observation strategies to sharpen their visual awareness as they studied and learned the differences between rocks.

Read the rest of the article at the Bowdoin Daily Sun! Click here

Do not miss Barbara's talk on her artistic inspriations, click here to learn more.
Wednesday, April 10
4:15pm-5:30pm
Beam Classroom, VAC