Reflections

CMADC has shown that the methods created through my artistic research do not depend on being practised by me for them to be viable. The workshops have demonstrated that the drawing methods developed through this research are valuable as a cross disciplinary way of knowing. Each participant practises the method based on their own knowledge and experience and this is reflected in the developmental stages of their own drawing process: like each blade of grass grows differently, each drawing evolves differently and is always a variation on the method. This variation of approach and understanding further enriches my own understanding of the methods. In line with this, when I practise the method, the process and outcome will be different from another person’s and show the methods potential to be personal but also sharable. The drawing methods shared through the workshops have not aimed to be ‘personality neutral’ like many ‘traditional’ methods of natural science but instead recognise the potential of an individual approach, as enriching and adding value to the study exactly because people are different. The methods work on the basis that individual personality is not a liability of the learning process but an important part of the creative work.

The Centre has built on the support of several regional institutions, including the Biosciences Department and Camborne School of Mines at the University of Exeter, Penryn and Falmouth University. The project has also hosted two Falmouth BA Drawing students for work placements and appointed a Falmouth BA Drawing student project assistant. The activities of CMADC have led to a successful application to present Isomorphology as a way of navigating the tropical Biome at the Eden Project during the ‘Strange Science’ event in May 2015.

The Campaign for Drawing have supported CMADC through their social media campaign and publication about the launch event on their blog, which led to an invitation to offer similar workshops at the RCA Drawing studio summer school in 2015. Based on the innovative art/science collaborations and educational element of the project, the Northern Ireland Science Festival have invited me to be their first artist in residence in 2016. Corti and I will further develop the workshop we delivered at CMADC through an invitation by the Science Museum London to present a drawing-based event during the Mathematics festival in November 2015.

This project has also fed back into Teresa Gleadowe’s vision of CAST, she offered the following reflections on the CMADC project:

The activities and events Gemma Anderson has led for the CMADC project exemplify exactly the kind of art/science dialogue CAST wishes to support. I have been impressed by the range of people from different backgrounds who have participated in the workshops, and by the liveliness and depth of the exchange. These workshops are clearly of real interest to the scientists as well as to the artists involved. I was fascinated to learn that Prof. Alessio Corti uses drawing to support his work as a mathematician and to hear Dr. Colin French talking about the importance of drawing in the identification of botanical species. The CMADC workshops appear to bring reciprocal benefit to both artists and scientists to an unusual degree. (Teresa Gleadowe, 2015, personal communication)

The questions addressed through this project demonstrate a strong epistemological motivation that is supported by the dissemination of the drawing methods at the Cornwall Morphology and Drawing Centre. CMADC has created a space to further explore artistic and scientific practices outside of the institutional space and offered ways of knowing the natural world that permit a freedom for art as education. CMADC has brought important aspects of my artistic research together in one place and represents my own particular approach to the artist’s ‘studio’. As my practice as an artist merges with my role as an academic, the exploration of the conditions that support drawing as a way of knowing; environmental, social and educational have become especially important

CMADC contributes to contemporary practices that consider artwork as an educational medium. As one of the proponents of the ‘educational turn’ (Wilson and O’Neill: 2010), Gillick notes: ‘in exhibitions and biennales in recent years there has been a move towards including quasi-educational projects – not as add-ons but as an integral part of artistic production’ (2008). This research shares many characteristics of practice situated within the ‘educational turn’, combining strong educational motivations and an interest in sharing artistic process rather than product. It contributes through presenting and discussing methods that develop a way of seeing and understanding the morphology of animal, vegetable and mineral in the context of collaborative interdisciplinary workshops that are led through an open dialogue between participants, myself and the collaborating scientist.

This web archive provides a sustainable legacy for CMADC supported by the article ‘Drawing the Real and the Unknown’ (Hernly, 2015b). Specifically it produces a legacy ‘in the world’, with many people (from a wide variety of disciplines and backgrounds) adopting the methods and philosophy I have developed in their own scientific and personal understanding. At CMADC, society becomes part of the material for the artistic experiment; the world comes into the studio and the only way to know if the methods transfer is to test them, unrehearsed and live in action. CMADC has also produced a legacy for my ‘future self’ as an artist, as the participants, as well as collaborators, have actively contributed to the direction my own art will take in future years.


References

ANDERSON, G. 2013f Isomorphology: An Introduction. London: Super-Collider
ANDERSON, G. 2013g ‘Rearranging the Natural World’. UCL Museums and Collections Blog. Available at: http://blogs.ucl.ac.uk/museums/2013/05/09/isomorphology/ (Accessed May 2015)

ANDERSON, G. 2014a ‘Endangered: A Study of Morphological Drawing in Zoological Taxonomy’ Leonardo, 47(3), pp. 232–240

ANDERSON, G. 2014b ‘The Big Draw at the Natural History Museum’. Available at: http://www.thebigdraw.org/the-big-draw-at-the-natural-history-museum (Accessed: July 2015)

ANDERSON, G and FREEBORN, A. 2014. ‘Science and Art meet at the AMC’ NaturePlus [Website], Available at:http://www.nhm.ac.uk/natureplus/blogs/behind-the-scenes/2014/10/29/science-and-art-meet-at-the-amc?fromGateway=true (Accessed: July 2015)

ANDERSON, G., BUCK, D., COATES, T. and CORTI, A. 2015 ‘Drawing in Mathematics: From Inverse Vision to the Liberation of Form’, Leonardo, 48 (5), pp. 439-448

ANDERSON, G. and CORTI, A. 2014. ‘Notes from an Artistic Collaboration’ Veneto Institute of Science, Literature and Art. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?list=PLfcFPNXyAOqatuGE3E9ZqwVqt10ieI3Jy&v=mv2xbnlnWho (Accessed May 2015)

ANDERSON, G. and CORTI, A. 2015 ‘Notes from an Artistic Collaboration’, in EMMER,M. and ABATE, M. (eds.) Imagine Maths 4. Rome: Unione Matematica Italiana

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(GROUP) 16 BEAVER, 2010 ‘To Whom the Past No Longer, and Not Yet the Future, Belongs: A Response to a Letter’ in O’NEILL, P. and WILSON, M. (eds.) Curating and the Educational Turn. Amsterdam: De Appel Arts Centre

HERNLY, K. 2015, ‘How drawing is bringing art and science together’. Available at: http://www.thebigdraw.org/how-drawing-is-bringing-art-and-science-together (Accessed: July 2015)

HERNLY, K. 2015b ‘Drawing the real and the unknown’ Drawing Research Theory and Practice, (1), 2015. Intellect Ltd

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THINKING THROUGH DRAWING: International Drawing & Cognition Research on WordPress.com 2014 Available at: https://drawingandcognition.wordpress.com (Accessed: July 2015)

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