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Out of the Blue: Art and Weather


 Who painted this "Study of Clouds"?With the recent flurry of art and fractal controversies, it's time that chaos enter the mix: and what better way to do this than through weather - the dynamical system that colors pretty much everything that happens on earth, and is the real butterfly that began the modern science of chaos theory.

Since early march, there has been a very timely show at the Abington Art Center. Titled out of the blue, the exhibition …

...explores weather and climate change through the works of 22 artists in a variety of media. The exhibition focuses on the dynamics of human creativity as a metaphor for geological and atmospheric phenomena. Treating issues of weather both literally and symbolically, out of the blue approaches the creative process as a kind of weather system. Ideas, like hurricanes, seem to come "out of the blue" though they arrive through complex, interacting forces. This exhibition presents creativity as a process that generates its own weather conditions, a storm of artistic, social, political, atmospheric and geological influences.

Of course, this exhibit must address explicitly or implicitly the issues of global warming, and so curator Amy Lipton writes that the exhibit was created in the context of the tension between weather as inspiration for artists, and the "negative influence of humankind on the planet’s weather systems."<

You will find links to all of the artists and pictures of their exhibit pieces at

While at the site, also check out StrangeWeather.Info , a blog started to coincide with the out of the blue project, and which is billed as "a resource hub about climate change for artists, writers and activists."

The show will close on May 6, 2006, and will then travel to another location (that is not yet listed on the web site.)

With out of the blue, and Swarm at the Fabric Museum, Philadelphia is the nexus of art/fractals/chaos and now weather. If only Chaos and Fractals had been held this semester!

(The picture at the top of this post is not from the exhibit. Knowledgeable readers will clearly recognize the Study of Clouds by John Constable - c.1822)