Fermilab brings energy into art

This watercolor by Vesna Jovanovic, titled “Timespans,” is now on display in the Fermilab Art Gallery. Image courtesy of Vesna Jovanovic

The artist reception for the exhibit “Potential Energy” will take place today from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Fermilab Art Gallery.

This spring, the Fermilab Art Gallery diverged from its typical invitation-only exhibits and hosted a juried show that features work from local artists centered on a single theme: potential energy. The show will run until May 9.

“The juried show gives less well known artists who may not have enough pieces to fill a gallery the opportunity to showcase their work,” said Fermilab art curator Georgia Schwender. “It also lets us see how different artists interpret a single theme.”

This exhibition is part of a collaboration with the Water Street Studios and The Gallery at Allen+Pepa to showcase pieces that depict three different manifestations of energy: potential, kinetic and mechanical. Each gallery will focus on a different type of energy, with the Fermilab Art Gallery starting off the series with potential energy themed pieces.

Local artist Kai Schulte visited Fermilab several times when he first moved to Illinois from Germany. He created a metal sculpture entitled “Visual Higgs Boson” specifically for this exhibit. The sculpture gives form to the elusive “god particle” in a way that figures and graphs cannot.

“The whole idea of particle accelerators and physics is fascinating,” Schulte said. “When I heard about this show, it gave me the opportunity to create something I have always wanted to create.”

Chicago-based artist Vesna Jovanovic, who submitted the piece “Timespans” to the exhibit, has always been intrigued by art and science. She double majored in chemistry and art during her undergraduate studies.

“Both fields, art and science, are for curious people,” Jovanovic said. “Artists and scientists experiment in various ways to explore the world around them.”

This exhibit also gave Fermilab employees with artistic minds the opportunity to showcase their work. Engineer Mike McGee from the Accelerator Division contributed photographs to two of the shows.

“As an engineer, everything is visual.” McGee said. “We have to imagine how things look and understand how things move and fit together. Photography is just another way to visualize the world.”

—Sarah Charley