Understanding the Forces:
How Art, Math and Science Intersect in Wellin Museum Exhibition

By Kaye Kagaoan '15

Assistant Professor of Physics Kate Jones-Smith led a gallery talk and discussion on the mathematical and scientific concepts reflected in the Wellin Museum’s current exhibition Alyson Shotz: Force of Nature. The Feb. 19 event was attended by students, professors, administrators and members of the local community.

Jones-Smith explored how different practical and theoretical elements of math and science apply to Shotz’s work on display, many of which are sculptures named after scientific and mathematical terminology. Jones-Smith began the lecture with remarks on how Shotz's Invariant Interval, a large cylindrical sculpture made of a "net" of glass beads on stainless steel wire, relates to the Pythagorean theorem and space-time intervals on a four-dimensional plane.

Every new concept presented by Jones-Smith corresponded with at least one work in the exhibition, while the discussion following each segment of the lecture showed an insightful exchange of ideas among art historians and scientists. In the case of Invariant Interval, one professor pointed out that even though the sculpture is a three-dimensional physical object, its "netting" design actually reflects that of a two-dimensional plane. Attendees also discussed which fundamental forces applied to certain works in the exhibition and to what extent Shotz applied science to her art.

Alyzon Shotz: Force of Nature is on display until April 5, 2015. The exhibit is curated by Wellin Museum Director Tracy L. Adler.

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