Dr. Rebecca Kamen
Professor Emeritus (Art), Northern Virginia Community College
Artist in Residence – The College of Art and Science, University of Pennsylvania

Curiosity and the Creative Process: Re-Imagining Scientific Discovery

“I never made a painting as a work of art, it’s all research.”    Pablo Picasso


The creation of my work starts with curiosity and the process of qualitative inquiry.  Through scientific research and dialogues with scientists and historians, I analyse what I am understanding, and communicate my observations and discoveries through art.

Collaborations with other artists such as dancers, poets, and musicians have also played a significant role in the development of the work, providing new and dynamic ways to interpret science.  Each project is multi-referential in terms of the connections it creates between various scientific fields, historical, and cultural references.

This master class will explore curiosity, discovery, and the creative process as a new lens for re-imagining scientific discovery. The art projects presented will celebrate research as a spark for inspiration, as a journey for discovery, and a catalyst for making the invisible, visible.   One of the projects discussed will be Divining Nature:  An Elemental Garden, an art installation transforming the Periodic Table of letters and numbers in chemistry into a garden of sculptural elements based on geometry and atomic number.

Also discussed will be a new collaborative project with scientists at the University of Pennsylvania investigating curiosity, cognition and the creative process. Through data visualization and animation, this project reveals the process of knowledge networks over time in the development of my work.


About the Speaker

Dr. Rebecca Kamen, sculptor and lecturer on the intersections of art and science, seeks ‘the truth’ through observation.  Her artwork is informed by wide-ranging research into cosmology, history, philosophy, and by connecting common threads that flow across various scientific fields to capture and re-imagine what the scientists see.

Professor Kamen has researched on collaborative projects at the Center for Astrophysics at Harvard University, the Kavli Institute at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Rochester Institute of Technology, and at the National Institutes of Health. Selected as a Salzburg Global Seminar fellow in 2015, she was invited to Austria to participate and present her work as part of a seminar titled:  The Neuroscience of Art:  What are the Sources of Creativity and Innovation.

Location : Stamford