Chirality: Defiant Mirror Images

Saturday, October 24, 2015 – Saturday, December 12, 2015, 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Venue: Gray Matters Art Gallery, 113 N Haskell Ave, Dallas, TX 75226
Admission: Free
Season: 2015-16

Gallery Hours: Saturdays 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. (except Nov. 28) and by appointment

Opening Reception: Saturday, October 24, 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.  

Panel Discussion with Artists and Curator: Thursday, October 29, 7:00 p.m.

Artists: Ellen K. Levy, Jeff Gibbons, Alan and Michael Fleming, Luke Harnden, Steve Oscherwitz, Trent Straughan

Curated by: Charissa N. Terranova, Associate Professor of Aesthetic Studies in the Edith O’Donnell Institute of Art History at The University of Texas at Dallas

Gray Matters Gallery

Art meets science in Chirality: Defiant Mirror Images. This exhibition plays out the unique agency of chiral forms – their asymmetrical symmetry, how they look alike and act differently, and their ability to spin light out into space (or optical activity) – when introduced to the realm of art.  Invoking “agency” in terms of the dynamics of chiral form, the exhibition sets in relief new models of form-making, individuation, and social action.

The word “chirality” comes from the Greek word kheir, meaning, “hand.” Human hands and feet are chiral: regardless of how you orient them, they resist superimposition. They are defiant forms that, while mirroring each other, refuse to overlap symmetrically.

Chirality is most frequently used in the sciences to describe the “handedness” of molecules, their organization in space as mirror images that cannot be superimposed on one another.

Like our hands, these molecular compounds are symmetrical mirror images of each other but if layered one atop the other, their relationship becomes asymmetrical.

Edibles, smells, and drugs provide examples of chirality. Take sugar, for example. We need sugar in our diet, but if we were to eat a mirror image of sugar, the same atoms arranged in the left-hand form, then we would go hungry. Food chemists have used this logic to develop zero-calorie artificial sweeteners. They sweeten your tea, but provide no nutrition or calories. Spearmint and the spice caraway are chiral molecules. One has the zing of mint, the other the earthiness of cumin. Certain drugs are chiral. Ibuprofen is a well-known chiral pain reliever, but in its non-superimposable mirror image it is deadly. One form may be helpful the other may be inactive or even toxic.*

While specifically focusing on chiral forms within contemporary art, this exhibition generally expands the platform and discourse of art by incorporating knowledge from the allied field of science.

Artists –

Ellen K. Levy is a widely exhibited visual artist in the US and abroad whose practice encompasses experiential mixed-media installations, forums, and writing about complex systems. Levy is currently Special Advisor on the Arts and Sciences at the Institute for Doctoral Studies in the Visual Arts (IDSVA) and a lecturer at The New School. She was President of the College Art Association (2004-2006) before earning her doctorate (2012) from the University of Plymouth (UK).

Jeff Gibbons was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan. He later lived in Key West and Tampa, Florida before moving to DFW where he received an MFA in Intermedia from UTA. He is currently living and working in Dallas.

In 2010, Alan and Michael Fleming received their MFAs from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, which they attended together. They have exhibited and performed extensively throughout the United States and in Denmark, Germany, Scotland, the Ukraine, and Brazil.  The artists live and work in Brooklyn, NYC.

Steven J. Oscherwitz is an artist trained in painting and drawing and integrative art/science studies at The School of The Art Institute of Chicago where he also taught for 5 years. He has studied the conceptual foundations of science and art and their integration originally at The University of Chicago and then The University of Washington in Seattle.

Luke Harnden currently attends the University of Texas at Dallas and is a founding member of the artist collective ArtBeef. He is also instrumental in the programming and daily function of the project space known as BeefHaus, an alternative venue operating outside of conventional models for commercial and non-profit spaces.

Trent Straughan holds BA in Graphic Design from the University of North Texas. In April 2015, he presented his software art at LASER, NYC. His work has been exhibited at the AURORA, Dallas Contemporary, McKinney Avenue Contemporary, and the University of Texas at Dallas. Straughan combines a Pictures Generation sensibility with the mechanics of computational generative art. These randomizing self-editing video works explore dystopian macro-systems, obscure contemporary media, and mass culture. Writing his own video software, Straughan creates chance-driven randomizations, which continuously unlock new juxtapositions in examined ideas while mirroring failing social and technological systems.


For more information contact:
Owner and Operator of Gray Matters Gallery, Vance Wingate
[email protected]

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