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March 10, 2011

The Chemical Heritage Foundation Museum Presents Elemental Matters: Artists Imagine Chemistry, An Exhibition Fusing Art And Science

The museum brings the molecular sciences to life. (Photo courtesy Chemical Heritage Foundation)

When most of us look at the periodic table of elements, we see letters and numbers. But to the artists whose work is on display in Elemental Matters: Artists Imagine Chemistry, a new exhibition at the Chemical Heritage Foundation Museum, it’s a source of creative inspiration.

With fiberglass rods piercing sheets of mylar, Rebecca’s Kamen’s piece “Water” conceives what is normally a liquid as a solid, undulating sculpture. Think hard enough and you may figure out the logic behind Dove Bradshaw’s “Song of Which (Evelina kneeling, looking left)”. It’s a black and white photograph of a nude woman holding up a veil with the names of numerous elements on it. Spoiler alert: they’re all elements found in the human body.

You can spend a fair amount of time viewing Jennifer Schmitt’s “The Periodic Table Printmaking Project,” made of 118 images representing elements of everyday life as envisioned by 97 artists. Some of the prints are rather cheeky, like the one depicting a spigot (for copper) while others are more enigmatic, for instance, the print for tungsten, which features a fierce wolf.

Listen for the sound of phosphorus. Read hydrogen in braille. View 400 tiny red lights fueled by potassium residues in a mountain. With pieces that integrate sound and others we are meant to touch, this show takes the elements off the periodic table and turns them into an intriguing sensory experience.

Elemental Matters: Artists Imagine Chemistry
Where: Chemical Heritage Foundation: 315 Chestnut Street
When: Now through December 16
Cost: FREE
More info: www.chemheritage.org

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