Biologist / Metal Sculptor

As a biologist and artist Erick uses art as a form of science outreach. His pieces convey the wonders of the natural world to the audience. Erick has a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree from the University of British Columbia and an Honors Metal Certificate from the Kootenay School of the Arts at Selkirk College. Erick has worked and studied in labs for more than 20 years and still finds wonder there. It is this curiosity and excitement for the natural world that Erick brings to his art. In larger than life metal microbes, scanning electron micrographs in gilded frames and framed fixed specimen slides, the often invisible are made visible.

 

ReCollections

I am honored to be part of ReCollections at the Beaty Biodiversity Museum.

ReCollections
October 1, 2020 – February 20, 2022

Introduction

Museums are places of memory. In the Beaty Biodiversity Museum, every specimen in the hundred-year-old collection holds a history: of its own life, the people associated with it, and its evolutionary record stretching back through eons.

These memories are kept alive by the community around the museum: its researchers, faculty, staff, students, and volunteers.

This community’s commitment to biodiversity takes many forms, often in creative expression. Science and art were never mutually exclusive.

Showcasing these works celebrates the Beaty Biodiversity Museum’s first ten public years, and is a reminder that the museum is a place of recollection, of creativity, and of dreams.

Symbology

How is a painting of a flower different from a flower? In mediating the image of an organism, the artist creates a distance from the physical thing itself. This distance creates space for meaning to be read into the deliberate placement of every line. The combination of subjects holds value, as does the selection of media, colour, and scale. An image is a symbol, what does it mean to you?

Taxonomy

Drawing an organism to record what it is, and how it is different from similar forms is an ancient practice and one that is still used today. Drawing allows for characteristics to be isolated, emphasized, and compared clearly and simply. To name and describe species in accordance with international conventions is the science of taxonomy. What do you think is emphasized in these drawings that a photograph might not reveal?

Technology

Images surround us, and more often, these images are digital. An artwork may be created digitally and shared digitally, having no physical original. Digital art may also incorporate motion, sound, or interactivity. An artwork may be experienced simultaneously in multiple locations around the world. How is the art displayed here different than pieces on the wall?

Photography

To record patterns of light through mechanical means seems impartial, but a multitude of decisions go into the construction of a photographic image.

A photograph may be so specific that they can serve as a digital collection record of where and when an organism occurs. Or a photograph can be as abstract and evocative as any work of art. What does each photograph tell you?

Allegory

The natural world has been a source of inspiration for artists since the earliest works of art.

People will always read living forms into abstract shapes, and spin stories from a single image. Nature will always be the refuge, the adversary, the trickster, the mother, the self.

Humanity needs intact ecosystems for many reasons, and not least as a space for our collective imaginations to escape, to remember our role as one species among many on a planet filled with wonder. What inspires you?

Contributing artists, listed alphabetically by last name

Nicolas Bailly
Gabriela A. Barragan
Elisabeth Bergman
Jen Burgess
Ruby Burns
Sheila Byers
Amelia Choy
Brett Couch
Adrian Dwiputra
Thanushi Eagalle
Cassandra Elphinstone
Harold Eyster
Alyssa Gehman
Lauren Gill
Keely Hammond
Sylvia Heredia
Sydney Honsberger-Grant
Linda Horianopoulos
Erick James
Faith Jones
Patrick Keeling
Zaynah Khan
Lesha Koop
Chu Chien Lin
Margaret Lin
Amy Liu
Jennifer Losie
Colin MacLeod
Wayne Maddison
Beatriz Martin
Sam Matys
Quinn McCallum
Ailsa McFadyen-Mungall
Anita Miettunen
Jenny Munoz
Virginia Noble
Mary O’Connor
Zoe Panchen
Michelle Pang
Philippe Roberge
Catherine Salinas
Keerthikrutha Seetharaman
Amanda Smith
Catherine Stewart
Ildiko Szabo
Derek Tan
Wouter van der Bijl
Simi Wei
Hanson Wong
Cathy Yan
Isaac Yuen

Exhibition Contributors:

Curator
Yukiko Stranger-Galey and Derek Tan
Designer
Derek Tan, Evan Craig, and Simi Wei
Fabricator
Lesha Koop
Education Advisor
Nancy Lee
Judging Committee
Sylvia Heredia, Wayne Maddison, Karen Needham, Gregory Shapiro, Eric Taylor, and Karen Yurkovich

Fixed

Microscope slides spend most of their life in a dark box, usually in a drawer. From time to time, they are put under an intense light for a few minutes, and then returned to their assigned spot. Clinical slides are read, observations are recorded, and they are stored. When a biologist describes a new species of microbe, they are deposited onto type slides and submitted to a museum for safe keeping. Samples are fixed for eternity. Microscope slides are utilitarian; any biology student has likely prepared, viewed and discarded hundreds of them. This piece steps away from the microscope to view these slides with the naked eye. The myriad of colours, shapes, and labels all fixed on a 1” x 3” piece of glass. Now they are free from the drawer, sandwiched between museum glass, and set in frames for viewing and appreciation.

Fixed was displayed at the Royal BC Museum as part of Celebrating Excellence in Science Journalism and Communication.

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