Irene Kopelman's exhibition entitled "The Challengers Report" opened on 10 Feb at the Gasworks Gallery and features artwork inspired by a visit to the micropalaeontology collections at the Museum. The glass slides of Antarctic radiolarian specimens used by Irene have been loaned for display as part of the exhibition, and two tours of the micropalaeontology collections were provided just after the exhibition opened.
Irene Kopelman in front of two of her acrylic on canvas works based on Radiolaria. Pelham Miller makes a guest appearance in the picture on part of his rapid tour of the gallery!
Irene's work borrows patterns from nature or techniques of observation and classification from the history of science. Her inspirations include the expeditions of renowned explorers such as Scott and Shackleton; the title of the exhibition refers to the Challenger Expedition of 1872-76 which laid the foundations for modern oceanography. The exhibition includes large scale paintings of Antarctic radiolarians (see two of them above).
Gasworks Curator Robert Leckie demonstrating the display of slides loaned by the Museum.
The slides loaned were transported in a purpose built carrying box made by Palaeontology Department Loans Officer Noemi Moran Lorengo from Plastazote inert foam. Noemi also processed the reams of paperwork associated with the loan and carried out a condition survey of the slides prior to their transport.
The purpose built carrying case made from Plastazote and conservation grade card by Noemi (photo provided by Noemi Moran Lorengo).
The slides of Antarctic radiolarians loaned to the exhibition (photo provided by Noemi Moran Lorengo). The specimens themselves are less than half a millimetre in size and are encased in Canada balsam that has turned brown in the roughly hundred years since the slides were created.
Two tours of the micropalaeontology collections were also included in the Gasworks events associated with the exhibition. We were able to showcase some of the amazing artwork associated with our collections including the 1889 Blaschka radiolarian models created from glass. Other materials included specimens and documents on an Antarctic theme including Heron-Allen's bound Terra Nova study volume and some radiolarian slides from the same expedition.
Demonstrating slides and artwork as part of one of the two tours to the Micropalaeontology Collections (photo courtesy of Robert Leckie).
It was great to be able to visit the opening of the exhibition with my family - our daughter Blossom was born shortly before Irene first came to the Museum.
My thanks go to Lil Stevens who pointed Irene in the direction of this material while I was on paternity leave. We are hoping that Irene can come again in March and we can maintain links with artists from Gasworks following the Museum tours.