Art gallery orders up ‘Negentropy’ for latest exhibit, reception on Friday at 5 p.m.

Renee Robbins’ painting "Golden Ratio" is on display in the Fermilab Art Gallery.

The Fermilab Art Gallery will host an artist reception open to the public on Sept. 26 at 5 p.m. for its newest exhibit “Negentropy,” now on display. The work of featured artists Renee Robbins and Bruce Riley contrasts sharply with the last gallery exhibit, replacing subdued lakeshore scenes with their collection of bold, dynamic representations of life.

“I’m really inspired by nature and all the diversity of things that are in the world. There’s an infinite amount of patterns and textures to work with,” Robbins said.

Robbins draws much of her inspiration from biology, which is directly referenced in her series “Love Letter Etchings.” Each etching represents a tribute to one of her most beloved marine species, including the blue button jellyfish and the carnivorous harp sponge. Her paintings abstractly unite micro and macro elements of the universe. References to individual cells, for example, may be seen alongside those of fireflies and celestial bodies.

“I try to blend bits and pieces from all those seemingly disparate systems to create new or different forms,” she explained. The concept of negentropy — the negative entropy of life within a chaotic universe — appears throughout the collection as meticulous detail amid chaotic abstraction.

Co-exhibitor Riley evokes a similar organic feeling with his layered, glazed paintings. The paintings are a result of Riley’s experiments with pigments of different densities and surface tensions. With the canvas laid flat, each application of paint pools or spreads, floats or sinks in a unique way. The physics-dependent technique is a perfect fit for Fermilab, said Riley, who incidentally has been greatly influenced by the work of theoretical physicist David Bohm.

“I really liked his work,” Riley said. “What he would write for non-physicists was accessible, and I think he was pretty amazing.”

“Negentropy” runs through Nov. 28. A gallery talk is planned for Oct. 15. Individuals interested in attending are invited to register by emailing Georgia Schwender.

Troy Rummler