Artessa Alliance Matter & Energy Logo

The Matrix of Science and Art

Karen Hunter McLaughlin

Two of my works for Matter and Energy, Flower of Life and Symbiotic Colony, illustrate my continued interest in the connections between Science and Art. These works use a language of shapes that mimic nature– most prolifically the threadlike hyphae of mycelium. The vocabulary of these shapes can be found in most matter in our universe, from macro to micro; galactic space, mycorrhizal networks, brain synapses, and other human, and non-human body systems. They are perfect symbols of the matrixes that support the essential nexus of human connection. I adopted this shared imagery as a metaphor for the unknown, the living systems we have yet to discover.

Symbiotic Colony started with a honeycomb of shapes created with wire rust. While initially, they could symbolize my community with Artessa, on a grander scale, they represent the disappearance of biodiversity– a major effect of the climate crisis. The hexagon is said to be as close as science gets to magic, it’s a favorite of the natural world. It can be found in monumental size on Saturn’s north pole as an enduring cloud formation, to the well-known honeycomb, down to the microscopic six bonded carbons of benzene. Shapes connecting through all matter!

The corresponding piece, Flower of Life, expands the use of sacred geometry harnessing the hexagon and within it, the “flower of life”, as a global eye that looks out onto the viewer. Similar to Symbiotic Colony, the deeper shadowy areas use natural, hand-made pigments created and generously shared by fellow members, Rebecca Schultz and Nancy Agati. The electric, capillary-like marks, drawn with watercolor pencils, allow me to melt the line into the surrounding space. Within this piece are references to the eerie atmospheric colors just before a storm, and delicate spore prints made by mushrooms.

Work in Matter and Energy

Karen Hunter McLaughlin, Symbiotic Colony, Rust, Watercolor mediums, Natural pigments 40″ x 30″, $1,500.00
Karen Hunter McLaughlin, Flower of Life, Rust, Watercolor mediums, Natural pigments 40″ x 30″, $1,500.00
Karen Hunter McLaughlin, Light Through the Forest, Mixed-media monotype print, rust, metal-leaf on Japanese paper, $475.00
Karen Hunter McLaughlin, Micorrhizal Home, Rust print and watercolor mediums, $650.00
Karen Hunter McLaughlin, Chromesthesia II, Rust print and graphite on paper, $375.00

Read More about the artists and work in this show: