Las Cruces, NM
When we have unified enough certain knowledge, we will understand who we are and why we are here. – Edward O. Wilson
GEOMAGIC: Art, Science and the Zuhl Collection is an interdisciplinary exhibition that creates a visual laboratory and educational space unifying contemporary visual art, geology, and other natural sciences into a hypothetical space. GEOMAGIC creates a platform to explore ontological responses to spirituality, technology, and anthropogenic geological concerns of preservation in relation to the natural environment.
GEOMAGIC pairs works from the Zuhl collection, a Wunderkammer-like collection of over 1,800 specimens of petrified wood, fossils and minerals on the campus of New Mexico State University, with contemporary artists, who within their practice, utilize various mediums that resemble, echo, and mimic the geological to explore our ever-evolving scientific and technological landscape.
Like the many cultures that look for wisdom and signs from the physicality of our Earth, the artists included in this exhibition draw on the knowledge and historical significance of natural specimens to inform their practice. The minerals, crystals, fossils, and woods that exist in the Zuhl collection are a form of New Age geomancy or alchemy; and like our earliest master painters who ground up minerals to make their magic on canvasses, our contemporary artists’ cull from multiple mediums referencing forms of nature as the influence for their often speculative science-based creations. The displays and programs associated with GEOMAGIC will act as dialogical intersections for critical learning by all-age community members. Works like “Fossil Necklace,” by the artist Katie Paterson and made in collaboration with scientists, is comprised of 170 carved fossils, spans geological time, and addresses the implications of human activities and our global impact. From the Zuhl Collection, the selection of petrified wood, fossils, and minerals will help audiences of all ages examine the interpretations of the natural world and provide social and environmental contexts for the artworks.
GEOMAGIC emerges as an investigation into the new heights we might reach if the walls of the disciplines continue to fall and research-based practices converge to reach new solutions to the most complex questions of our anthropocentric times.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website