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First Friday exhibit connects art and arctic science

Submitted by Carin Stephens
Phone: 907-322-8730


Photo caption below.
© Shawn Harper
Amphipods under the sea ice I by Shawn Harper.

Photo caption below.
© 2008 Susan Farnham, http://www.farnham-art.com/susan/
Pelagic Realm is about the frenetic movement of copepods which is represented by the brushwork. The movement dictates the design and composition of this more abstract painting.
This Friday, a Fairbanks art gallery will feature paintings inspired by the arctic research and photographs of University of Alaska Fairbanks scientists.

Susan Farnham, a Fairbanks artist, has been working with Bodil Bluhm and Rolf Gradinger, biological oceanographers at the UAF School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, to create artwork that celebrates the northern creatures they study.

The exhibit is based on the findings of the Arctic Ocean Diversity project, an international effort to catalog life in arctic seas and sea ice. The project is led by Bluhm, Gradinger and Russ Hopcroft, another biological oceanographer at UAF.

The exhibit will be held this Friday, Oct. 3, at the Well Street Art Company gallery. The show will feature paintings by Farnham as well as 19 photographs by Bluhm, Gradinger and other scientists. The painter and photographers will be at the exhibit's opening ceremony.

"We are very excited about this unique opportunity to connect science and art," said Bluhm. "In a time of climate change, we see this exhibition as a way to attract people that may not otherwise think or care about the Arctic and the life within it."

Farnham's paintings range from representational to abstract and feature richly colored arctic sea creatures, including sea stars, jellyfish, amphipods (tiny shrimp-like animals) and plankton.

According to Farnham, the exhibit commemorates International Polar Year, a global initiative among scientists to better understand the polar regions of the Arctic and Antarctic.

The ArcOD project is part of the global Census of Marine Life, which seeks to assess and explain the diversity, distribution and abundance of life in the world's oceans.

The paintings and photographs will be on display until Nov. 4. After being displayed in Fairbanks, the exhibit may travel to other venues in Alaska and Canada.

About SFOS The UAF School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences conducts world-class marine and fisheries research, education and outreach across Alaska, the Arctic and Antarctic. 55 faculty scientists and 135 students are engaged in building knowledge about Alaska and the world's coastal and marine ecosystems. SFOS is headquartered at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and serves the state from facilities located in Seward, Juneau, Anchorage and Kodiak.

View web galleries of the paintings and photographs here.