If you go to the Art Tech Expo, bring an open mind
and wear good socks. You will immediately be directed to remove your
shoes and you don't want to be caught wearing any late-for-work, one
navy, one black mismatches. A little sign just inside the door of
the second-floor gallery at The Sprinkler Factory, 38 Harlow St.,
asks for stocking feet so you can enter a large mirrored box called
"Immersive-Reflective Installation" and not leave tracks on its
There are also mirrors above you and on two
of the big box's sides. The two others are left open for entrance,
egress and light. The mirrors are painted with a glowing human skull
and primal cave-art images. Once inside, you feel as if you have
been visually transported to new dimensions of time and space -
several of them, all at once. Mirror images of you, the
floating-in-space skull and the cave creatures are repeated - above
you, below you, everywhere you look. When you step outside the box
into normal reality, it seems a bit boring and flat, as if it is
lacking a few dimensions, or a few hundred.
"Immersive-Reflective Installation" is the work of Paxton artist JD
Sage. Sage, also professor emeritus at Worcester Polytechnic
Institute, likes to combine art and science in his work. So does
Kevin Burns, a Worcester artist and a cognitive scientist at Mitre
Corp. in Bedford, a company that oversees development of computer
systems for the U.S. government. The two found each other in the
Worcester art scene a couple of years ago after Burns read Sage's
book, "MetaForms and MetaNudes etcetera," a slim, scholarly volume
that probes the use of mathematical transformations, numbers,
symbols and the element of time in art.
"He picked up my book
and he read it. I think he's the only one in the United States,"
Sage said. "He approached me later and said, `Maybe we could do a
"Art Tech Expo, Showing Artworks & How Art
Works," is the result of that collaboration. Organized by Burns and
Sage, the show, which runs through Nov. 13, features their work as
well as pieces by eight other artists attuned to the scientific
wavelength. It is strong and innovative. It also is wide-reaching.
It aims to highlight how science and technology are applied to
graphics, sculpture, gaming, music, poetry, video, photography,
architecture, woodworking and ceramics. Somehow, it manages to do
all this pretty well, thereby saving Burns from leading a fragmented
"We both have an interest in the intersection of
science and the arts and felt we wanted to reach out to see who else
was interested in that," Burns said. "We also wanted to reach out to
the arts and science communities to show them that there's another
side, because otherwise it's like leading a dual life. You go to art
parties and there's no science. You go to science gatherings,
there's no art."
The labels accompanying each piece are
careful to explain how each artwork is affected by tech work. But if
you can get a group together - even a small one - there is a better
way to see the show. Burns and Sage are offering what they call
"curatours," or curated tours by appointment. They are so excited
about the show, they will even turn out for one person, they said.
They are doing this for a DeCordova Museum curator who wants to see
the show Nov. 10, and will happily do it for anyone if a time can be
It's worth making the call. While the labels are
informative, Sage's and Burns' enthusiasm and knowledge of science
and art add yet another dimension to the already multidimensional
You could, for example, look at Burns' series of
illusory illustrations on your own and you certainly would enjoy
them. They are op-art illustrations in which viewers perceive motion
and depth from shaded ovals. It is more fun, however, to view them
under Burns' direction. "Look at this one and just let your eyes
relax," he says. He is patient if the little ovals don't perform for
you immediately. "Don't stare at them. Just kind of let them go," he
says. Then, it happens. One row of ovals heads left, the one below
it scoots right and that pattern repeats down a page full of rows of
little lined-up ovals. "Are they moving?" he asks animatedly, then,
after another moment: "Do you see them?" Without your answering, he
can tell by your face that you do. "Is that cool?" he asks, beaming.
Yes, it is. Very cool.
A dedication to the da Vinci-like
meshing of art and science also is evinced by the other artists in
the show. They are Shlomo Dubnov, Joseph A. Sage (eldest son of JD
Sage), J-me Johnston, George Stadnik, Harriet Brisson, Carl Johnson,
Yoav Liberman and Jill J. Burns (wife of Kevin Burns).
Worcester Center for Crafts, 25 Sagamore Road, is serving up a
colorful show called "Platitudes: Plates with Attitude," in its
Krikorian Gallery through Nov. 17. The show and sale features
ceramic, glass and metal plates and platters by 25 artists from New
England and beyond.
"It's one of the best and certainly the
most vibrant show since I've been here," said Amy Black, who has
been public relations and marketing director a year and a half - the
Craft Center is a busy place, and there have been several shows in
that time. "I think it is the mix of color that I find so
attractive," she said.
The attractiveness comes not just from
what's on the table, but also from what's on the wall. Tapestries
were commissioned to compliment the plates and platters and their
fabric-artist creators have outdone themselves. Of special note are
tapestries by Elfa Jonsdottir, a student at the Craft
"She's a clay student," Ms. Black said. "I had no
idea she was so talented with fabric as well." There is no charge to
see the show. For more information about Platitudes contact Melissa
Figuerido at (508) 753-8183 Ext. 3005.
Craft Center executive
director David Leach knows how to get a kick out of life. Wednesday
night he and his wife, Audrey Leach, showed up for their first
kickboxing class at the Worcester YWCA at Salem Square. Their
instructor, aerobics queen Pati Jermyn, showed no mercy. She
rigorously put the newcomers and aerobics veterans in the class
through their paces. But Mr. Leach is a veteran himself - of the
Australian Army. Did that training help any? "We never did anything
like this in the army," a sweating Mr. Leach said at the close of
If you are a student and want to be a prize-winning
photographer, here's your chance - but you have to hurry. The
deadline for this year's "Seasons at the Sanctuary" photo contest at
Broad Meadow Brook Wildlife Sanctuary, 414 Massasoit Road,
Worcester, is 4 p.m. Nov. 5 The contest is open to area residents of
all ages but so far only adults have submitted entries. That leaves
three special youth categories - elementary school, high school and
college - wide open.
"We would love young people to enter,"
Kristin Steinmetz, a natural history guide at the sanctuary, said.
"Right now I'd say they would stand a good chance of
Prizes include photo supplies and gift certificates
and the honor of being in an exhibit at the sanctuary, which will
open with an awards ceremony from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Dec. 15. Plans
are in the works to take the show on the road, with possible stops
at city hall, the Worcester Public Library and ARTSWorcester. All
photos that follow the rules will be included in the show, not just
the prize winners. Photos must have been taken at Broad Meadow
Brook. They can be shots of the scenery, the wildlife, human
visitors - whatever the photographer finds interesting there.
Entries must ready for hanging (i.e. matted and/or framed) and an
official entry form filled out. Forms can be obtained at the
sanctuary or by calling (508) 753-6087.
Adults also are
encouraged to enter but the competition is notably stiffer. There
are about 20 entries so far, all of them good ones.
all breathtaking," Ms. Steinmetz said. "I love looking at
The city's annual Festival of Lights is getting
brighter. The event, which will be held Dec. 2 this year, will
include the customary tree-lighting ceremony on the common at 4
p.m.. But, instead of ending just an hour later, it will continue
this year with a celebration and art sale from 5 to 8
The city will be shutting down Main Street from Pleasant
Street to Exchange Street for festival activities.
be horse-drawn hay rides bringing people up and down the street, a
food sampling from restaurants, street performers and the opening of
new Worcester Windows exhibits in the windows of downtown businesses
and organizations. Many downtown businesses and venues will remain
open beyond their usual hours for the event.
Organizers are seeking artists who would like to sell and show their
work that evening. Please send any questions by e-mail to Doug
Chapel and Tina Zlody at email@example.com
Williams at firstname.lastname@example.org
You may also call ARTSWorcester at (508) 755-5142.