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UMD | Fearless Ideas
WORLDS WITHIN

An exhibition and lecture by Rob Kesseler

Tuesday, January 23, 2018
Artist lecture at 5 p.m.
Exhibition and reception to follow
Bioscience Research Building, Room 1101 (Map)

RSVP by January 19 at go.umd.edu/worldswithin

Worlds Within exposes the generally unseen world of plants and their internal architecture, textures, patterns and functions. It reveals repeating patterns in nature: generic structures and forms, which recur on a macro and micro scale. Since the publication of Robert Hooke's Microraphia in 1665, the living world under the microscope has been a primary focus for scientists and inspiration for artists. Rob Kesseler (1951–) creates hand-colored botanical micrographs of seeds and pollen and stained sections of plant tissue that form a remarkable visual bridge between the conventional purpose of scientific illustration as used in scientific and educational materials and the aesthetic interpretation of scientific imagery in contemporary art.

To move out into another's territory, to engage with their discipline in a way that goes beyond the superficial, to share ideas and to explore areas of commonality and difference is a privilege. Rob Kesseler's accompanying lecture, Convergent Territories, will reveal some of the histories and processes that have united art, architecture and science, from the earliest microscopic images of Robert Hooke to plant geneticists at the John Innes Plant Science Centre generating 3D forms to reveal flower development.

Rob Kesseler (FRMS FLS FRSA) is a visual artist and Chair of Arts, Design & Science at the University of the Arts London. A former NESTA Fellow at Kew and Research Fellow at the Gulbenkian Science Institute, Portugal, he has collaborated with botanical scientists and molecular biologists for the past 19 years to explore the living world at a microscopic level. He exhibits and lectures internationally and his publications include an award-winning series of books on pollen, seeds and fruit with Madeline Harley and Wolfgang Stuppy. He is a fellow of the Royal Microscopical Society, The Linnean Society and The Royal Society of the Arts.

Employing a variety of imaging processes and styles—from digital photography and scanning electron micrography to spontaneous ink drawing—Kesseler's work reflects the way in which the natural world migrates into many aspects of our daily lives and seeks to reveal a micro-cosmos of complex structures and ornamental patterns. Extending the long and illustrious history of artists working with flowers and plants, Kesseler seeks to reveal a hidden world lying beyond the scope of the human eye producing work that lies somewhere between science and symbolism, in which the many complexities of representing plants are concentrated into mesmeric visual images and objects. Learn more about his work at robkesseler.co.uk.

If you have any questions about the event, please contact Abby Robinson at abbyr@umd.edu or 301-405-5845.

Acknowledgements
Rob Kesseler would like to thank the University of the Arts London, the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Dartmouth College, The Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation and the Miller Gallery, Carnegie Mellon University, for their generous support in the development of this work. The artist would especially like to thank Jose Feijo, Madeline Harley, Wolfgang Stuppy and Papadakis Publisher for their enthusiastic and inspiring collaboration.

Images from Fruit, edible, inedible, incredible. Kesseler & Stuppy. Publ. Papadakis. (Top) Calotis breviradita, Burr rayed daisy. Hand coloured micrograph. (Bottom) Polygala arenaria, Sand milkwort. Hand colored micrograph.

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