"ECLIPSE" is a group exhibition on view at Williamson Gallery (Pasadena, California) through September 10th. This timely exhibit includes art by Lita Albuquerque, Howard Russell, Russell Crotty, Stephen Dankner, Rosemarie Fiore, Michael C. McMillen, AND Jacqueline Woods, and science from The Caltech Archives, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Carnegie Observatories, Lick Observatory, The Huntington Library, and the Goddard Space Flight Center.
Williamson Gallery director and co-curator of "ECLIPSE" Stephen Nowlin shared his thoughts with us on the exhibition's theme:
"Throughout all of human history, I expect solar eclipses are more the target of metaphor than any other natural phenomena, possibly surpassed only by religious icons in the amount of symbolism they attract. I'm struck by how reactions from witnesses to a total solar eclipse are not usually described in terms of the event's orbital physics or mathematical precision, but rather in terms of a transcendent emotional experience, one that is often seen by the eclipse-viewer to confirm whatever preconceived metaphysical or spiritual belief system that person holds. Thus eclipses are entangled and hopelessly knotted up by eons of interwoven interpretation. "ECLIPSE," the exhibit, is meant to probe the notion that such emotional qualities of an eclipse are more accurately attributed to the poetic dimensions of science, not New Ageism or pseudoscience or science supernaturalized according to religious beliefs and cultural mythologies. Rather, it is every bit as much the capacity of rational science alone to ignite sensations of the profound, and it is only our evolved biology without appeal to higher powers, that yields emergent understandings which are greater than the sum of whatever parts we witness - that is, transcendent meaning is best nurtured in a cradle of knowledge raised by science, and undiminished by superstition. I hope that perspective touches visitors' experience of the exhibit."