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Unpublished Paper
Design and Construction of Two Large-Scale Botanical Models: A Sunflower Capitulum and a Grass Spikelet
Natural and Applied Sciences, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater Oklahoma. (1995)
  • Nisa Blackmon, Illinois Wesleyan University
Abstract

During the years that I worked on the models, my thoughts about the project changed significantly. I began with the simple goal of having my work culminate in two scientifically accurate, visually pleasing, durable models, which would be practical teaching tools. I envisioned a neat and tidy application of my skills as an artisan to the physical representation of scientific data. I should have known that very little about art or science is ever so easily encompassed. In my own artwork, I often make use of botanical forms and phenomena as a formal addition to the work, or as a means of analogizing. In this role, I am the artist using science to enhance the art. As the designs for the models began to unfold, both on paper and during construction, I found myself reversing that role, becoming the scientist needing art to enhance the science. While I wanted the models to be as scientifically accurate as possible, I did not want them to become the placid, plastic, blobs of my early classroom experiences (which, ironically, are sometimes far from accurate). I knew that the appearance of the models would be important, but in a different sense, I also wanted them to embody some of the sense of mystery and wonder that I perceive in the botanical world, and that it brings to my artwork. To express that desire in terms of aesthetics, I wanted the models to become not only mimetic - true representations of the physical world - but also expressionistic, conveying to the user some of the importance that the beauty of natural forms has for me.

Publication Date
May 2, 1995
Citation Information
Nisa Blackmon. "Design and Construction of Two Large-Scale Botanical Models: A Sunflower Capitulum and a Grass Spikelet" Natural and Applied Sciences, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater Oklahoma. (1995)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/nisa_blackmon/2/