Posts Tagged: Donna Billick
You may remember hearing about the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program project when it was displayed in the U.S. Botanic Garden in Washington, D.C. in the summer of 2007.
Nature's Gallery drew raves then and it's drawing raves now.
It's a mosaic mural of 140 interlocking ceramic tiles depicting plants and insects. Now it's in its "forever" home--the UC Davis Arboretum's Ruth Storer Garden, located on Garrod Drive. It anchors what is to be Nature's Gallery Court.
A grand opening is scheduled from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, June 9.
The mosaic mural attracted more than 300,000 visitors when U.S. Botanic Garden showcased it. The mural inspired many a visitor to become a gardener, many a gardener to become an artist, many an artist to become a scientist, and many a scientist to become an artist.
Handcrafted by UC Davis staff, faculty and community members, it is art you can study and science you can decipher. The colors, the shapes, the plants, the insects--they're all there.
Its installation in the Storer Garden is nearing completion, according to Diane Ullman and Donna Billick, co-founders and directors of the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program. The last remaining part: the donor tiles on the donor wall.
Donors may contribute either $500 for an insect tile (6x8 inches) or $1500 for a plant tile (16x21 inches). Each tile will be inscribed with the scientific name of the insect or botanical name of the plant, along with the donor name(s). At the onset, 76 plant tiles and 54 insect tiles were available, but as of Friday, April 27, only a few remain. (See website for information on availability or contact Suzanne Ullensvang, resource development manager at (530) 752-8324 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The tiles can be a fitting tribute to the memory of an avid gardener or just a public way to support art and science as one entity.
As its name implies, the Art-Science Fusion Program merges scientists with artists. It includes design faculty, science faculty, museum educators, professional artists, and UC Davis students.
You won't find a more passionate duo of science/art leaders than Ullman and Billick. Ullman, a professor and former chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology, serves as associate dean for undergraduate academic programs at the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. And, Ullman is an artist in her own right. Billick, who holds two UC Davis degrees--a bachelor's degree in genetics and a master's degree in fine arts--is a self-described "rock artist." Among her work: the morphologically correct ceramic bee sculpture in the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven at UC Davis.
The garden is named for Ruth Risdon Storer, Yolo County’s first pediatrician who loved both medicine and plants. Designed for year-round color with low water use and low maintenance, it includes many Arboretum All-Stars.
Come June 9, the public will celebrate another "All-Star"--Nature's Gallery.
Nature's Gallery, a mosaic mural celebrating insects and plants, is now at home in the Storer Garden, UC Davis Arboretum, on Garrod Drive. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Aethionema schistosum or fragrant Persian stonecress with Epilobium canum or hummingbird trumpet. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
When you listen to a rainforest, what do you hear? What does it tell you?
Those who attend the free public event, “Mentawai: Listening to the Rainforest,” on Sunday, April 22 on the UC Davis campus will find out.
The unique art/science fusion program, held appropriately on Earth Day, will be presented at 7 p.m. in the UC Davis Main Theatre. Doors open at 6:30. The event is affiliated with the UC Davis Department of Theatre and Dance and the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program.
The program is the work of scholar/performer/composer Linda Burman-Hall, professor of music/ethnomusicology at UC Santa Cruz, and biologist Richard Tenaza, professor of biological sciences, University of the Pacific, Stockton.
Tenaza's UC Davis connection: he received his doctorate in zoology from UC Davis in 1974.
Burman-Hall will present an electronic sound collage composition and videography, coupled with Tenaza’s field recordings and photography of threatened and endangered species in Indonesia’s Mentawai Islands, located more than 100 miles west of Sumatra.
In the abstract, Burman-Hall asks: “What does the rainforest tell us about ourselves and the world? In the Mentawai Islands of Indonesia, wildlife communicates using a complete spectrum of sound that exceeds the range and timbre of a western orchestra. More than 50 meters overhead, female gibbons sing expressive duets in the tree-tops. Hundreds of unique species of birds, frogs, and insects also call and chorus, and in the midst of this sonorous world live indigenous tribes who have listened to the rainforest and existed harmoniously with its flora and fauna for millennia.”
“Mentawai, Listening to the Rainforest, is a extraordinary opportunity to enhance environmental literacy,” said artist Donna Billick, co-founder and co-director of the UC Davis Art Science Fusion Program. “Listening engages all our senses to a heightened awareness that brings consciousness into the present moment. This approach to research, using sound image and videography, is as good as it can be. I applaud Linda Burman-Hall and Richard Tenaza for drifting out into the Art/Science borderland to bring back the Mentawai gifts.”
Billick, a noted artist who created the six-foot-long bee sculpture in the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven on Bee Biology Road, UC Davis, will be one of the respondents (asked for their views) following the presentation. Other respondents are UC Davis faculty members Lynne Isbell, professor of anthropology; Andrew Marshall, associate professor of anthropology; Sarah Hrdy, professor emerita of anthropology, Henry Spiller, associate professor of music (ethnomusicology).
The program will showcase wildlife of the rainforest. Tenaza, a wildlife biologist, photographer, world traveler and adventurer, has conducted research in the Arctic, Antarctica, Africa, South America, China, and throughout Southeast Asia with a focus on Indonesia. He specializes in primates and has worked extensively to document and preserve Kloss's gibbon (Hylobates klossii) of Mentawai.
And insects? Among the Mentawai insects Tenaza has photographed are nasute termites and assorted butterflies, including the Malay Lacewing (Cethosia hypsea) and The Cruiser (Vindula erota).
All in all, it promises to be "fantastic," says entomologist/artist Diane Ullman, who does triple duty as (1) professor and former chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology (2) associate dean for undergraduate academic programs in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, and (3) the co-director and co-founder of the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program.
Malay Lacewing butterfly (Cethosia hypsea). Photographed by Richard Tenaza and identified by professor/butterfly expert Arthur Shapiro of UC Davis.
Nasute termites. Photographed by Richard Tenaza and identified by research scholar/insect photographer Alex Wild of the University of Illinois.
And they're not letting the secret out until Saturday, Dec. 3.
What it is: the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program will sponsor a "Cabinets of Curiosity" scientific art show on Saturday, Dec. 3 in Davis.
Billed as "found object and sculpture featuring 17 student artists," the event will take place from 7 to 10 p.m. at 721 7th St., Davis (corner of 7th and G streets). A performance art by Evan Clayburg is set for 8 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.
"But what's in those drawers?" we asked entomologist/artist Diane Ullman, co-founder and co-director of the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program. She is a longtime professor of entomology at UC Davis and associate dean for undergraduate academic programs in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.
Ullman did not disclose the secrets, but she said folks attending the event "will find out what happens when artists mix this concept with the strange world of insects using found object and sculpture."
A little background: She and Donna Billick of Davis co-founded and co-direct the Art/Science Fusion Program, which meshes art with science in undergraduate education and community outreach. Some of their work is showcased in the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven on Bee Biology Road, west of the central campus.
The Dec. 3rd show "is based on the fusion of art and science, particularly insects and art and is based on the theme of Cabinets of Curiosity," said Art/Science Fusion Program teaching assistant Anna Davidson, who is a third-year PhD student in the Horticulture and Agronomy Graduate Group, housed in the Department of Plant Sciences.
"Cabinets of Curiosity were pre-museum, pre-Linnaeus collections of curiosities from around the world featured for the affluent in the 15th and 16th centuries," Davidson said. "Curious items were either displayed in cabinets or entire rooms. We have created a cabinet of curiosity consisting of 20 drawers. Each drawer is a shallow, glass covered box that tells a story about insects using found object and sculpture. Each piece is very unique."
"There will also be a local--but becoming more famous--performance artist named Evan Clayburg performing at 8 p.m. His piece will be a surprise. We will also have two Djs."
And the site? "The gallery is an empty house that we will transform into an art space to facilitate this one-night underground art show," Davidson said.
Davidson did provide a couple of "bug" images (below)--but the rest you'll have to see on Dec. 3.
And learn more about them...
This little critter will be displayed at the Cabinets of Curiosity show on Saturday, Dec. 3 in Davis. (Photo courtesy of Anna Davidson)
What is it? A student meshed art with science. (Photo courtesy of Anna Davidson)
The Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility, UC Davis, and its adjacent honey bee garden, the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, received an international shot of publicity when “My Extreme Animal Phobia” aired last Friday on the Animal Planet Channel.
And, if you missed it, it is scheduled to be broadcast again on Wednesday, Nov. 16 at 10 p.m. (Sacramento area).
“It is a story about a man who is extremely afraid of bees,” said apiculturist/professional bee wrangler Norman Gary, emeritus professor of entomology at UC Davis. “He is treated successfully by various exposures to bees and consultation with Sacramento psychologist Robin Zazio.”
Although Gary played a central role in the treatment of the man’s phobia, he did not appear in the program.
But his trained bees did. And so did views of the Laidlaw sign, the bee yard, the haven, a bee observation hive, and some of the art work that graces the haven. (Plus some photos, including a feral honey bee colony, from yours truly.)
Gary, who retired in 1994 from UC Davis after a 32-year academic career, trains bees to perform action scenes in movies, television shows and commercials.
The Animal Planet show prominently featured the work of self-described "rock artist" Donna Billick of Davis, and she also created the six-foot-long bee sculpture in the half-acre haven. The UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program, co-founded and co-directed by Billick and entomologist Diane Ullman, coordinated all the art work in the haven, which opened to the public on Sept.11, 2010.
Also quite visible on the TV show: the two columns of painted bee boxes that grace the entrance to the garden, and the native bee mural on the tool shed.
By the way, Entomologist/artist Diane Ullman, professor of entomology at UC Davis and an associate dean in the UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, now has a new title: Fellow of the Entomological Society of America (ESA). She received the honor Monday from the 6000-member ESA at its meeting in Reno. The ESA singles out a maximum of 10 persons for the Fellow award each year.
The sign at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility. . (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
The colorful bee boxes (background) were shown on the TV program. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
When self-described "rock artist" Donna Billick of Davis created the morphologically correct honey bee sculpture for the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven at UC Davis, she expected it to be a focal point.
And it is.
The bee, which she cleverly named "Miss Bee Haven," anchors the half-acre bee friendly garden and it's the first thing visitors see when they stop by the site, located next to the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility on Bee Biology Road, west of the central UC Davis campus.
"That's one big honey bee!" they say. Or, "that's one big worker bee!"
Sometimes you see young children circling it or climbing on it. Most of the time you see people whipping out a cell phone to take a photo.
Last Wednesday it was "Occupy the Bee." An insect occupied the bee's left antenna: a consperse stink bug (Euschistus conspersus).
Why was the stink bug there? After all, this little critter sucks plant juices.
Me thinks the agricultural pest was just warming itself on "Miss Bee Haven"--before heading out to misbehave.
Consperse stink bug, Euschistus conspersus, crawls on the bee sculpture in the Haagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
It's not visible in this photo, but there's a stink bug is on the left antenna of the "Miss Bee Haven" sculpture created by Donna Billick of Davis. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)