Art to Plant Science

By William Horne

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Art at a science conference

Dr. Julio Javier Diez Casero, President of the Organizing Committee of the 18th Congress of the Spanish Society of Phytopathology (The Study of Plant Disease) has invited us (Claire Kujundzic & Bill Horne) to exhibit our forest-based and plant-based art at their gathering.

Hosted by the Universidad de Valladolid in Palencia, Spain, the congress will include two symposia: “Innate immunity and plant disease resistance signaling and “Xylella fastidiosa: a complex of species causing emerging diseases in Europe,” as well as keynotes from leading world scientists, presentations about current research, poster sessions and field trips.

SEF offers us an exciting opportunity increase our understanding of plant, forest and environmental issues and in turn broaden the scope of our imagery and creative processes.

The separation of knowledge

Art and science are supposedly opposites; the majority of artists and scientists live and work separately from each other. Yet this was not always the case - think of Leonardo da Vinci, or indigenous cultures whose inclusive world views integrate art, science and nature with everyday life. We believe we belong together!

Our approach: creative & interdisciplinary

Part of Claire's exhibit at IUFRO 2011 in Montesclaros, Spain

Based on our experience exhibiting art at three other scientific conferences, weknow that we will learn a lot about current research in the plant world. We also hope to inspire the plant pathologists with our artwork based on plants and on the catastrophic mountain pine beetle epidemic in our region.

Dealing with climate change and plant diseases will increasingly require daring, interdisciplinary and creative solutions. We believe that when artists can consult and collaborate with scientists, we can all deepen our search for truth and beauty.

Claire with Swedish forest pathologist Elna Stenström in front of her exhibit at IUFRO 2011 in Montesclaros, Spain

We have also committed to donate a selection of our artworkto the collection of the University of Valladolid, which is one of the main SEF sponsors, to leave a creative legacy after our exhibition and participation in the congress.

The Mountain Pine Beetle epidemic killed over 90% of the pines in an area the size of Hungary (we live at the edge of this disaster). In response, Claire created a diverse body of work. We'll take some of it to Palencia, and you can see some beautiful examples in this short video.

Bill will take a selection of his Pine Beetle prints and handmade plant papers to SEF 2016.

You can join us

The SEF Organizing Committee can cover the costs of our registration, accommodations, meals and field trips; we will absorb the donation of our artwork and forego artists’ fees. However, SEF is not in a position to pay for our travel from Canada to Spain or shipping artwork, and the Canada Council can only provide travel funding for exhibitions in regular art galleries (!). We have drafted a budget of $6000 (Canadian dollars) for these costs and are asking for your help in fundraising to meet that budget target.

Our Perks

"Up the Creek" - Bill Horne

"Community Forest" - Claire Kujundzic

"Forest Light" - Claire Kujundzic

"Father & Child" plus "Mother & Child" - Claire Kujundzic

"Spring Bog Panorama" - Bill Horne

"Fall Bog Panorama" - Bill Horne

"Winter Bog Panorama" - Bill Horne

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Team Members

William Horne