Wednesday, April 25, 2012

“Insects: A Collection in Multiple Dimensions”—featuring artwork by University of Iowa graduate student Kevin Chamberlain—opens May 3 at 5 p.m. in the UI Pentacrest Museums Gallery for the Arts, Humanities, and Sciences at the Old Capitol Museum.

The exhibit includes digital photographs and three-dimensional artistic renderings of specimens from the UI Museum of Natural History’s 100-year-old insect collection. Most of these photographs will be displayed next to the actual insect from the collection. Photography, 3-D scanning, rapid prototyping, plaster molds, ceramics, and mixed media sculptures were used in the exhibit.

Employing an image stacking technique, Chamberlain took 10 photographs of each actual insect and created a final composite using only the sharpest portions of each image.

“The exhibit is inspired by nature and will be used for community outreach and teaching,” Chamberlain says.

Chamberlain is a third-year MFA candidate in ceramics with an additional focus in museum studies.

As a 2012 fellow in the Obermann Center’s Graduate Institute on Engagement and the Academy, he designed this exhibit to combine public engagement with science, technology, and art. As part of the project, Chamberlain (pictured at right with a preschooler) created 34 three-dimensional large scale models of beetles and invited preschool children at the Preucil School of Music in Iowa City to paint them. The painted models are included in the exhibit.

“As Obermann Fellows, we talk about public engagement,” Chamberlain says. “Public engagement is a really beautiful thing for the arts, sciences, and this university.”

The exhibit will be free and open to the public through July. 

~by John Riehl, featured on Iowa Now; photos by Kirsten Williamson