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Dianne Bos and Doug Welch: Echoes Between Light and Darkness

In celebration of the International Year of Astronomy, the installation Light Echo at the McMaster Museum of Art provides an unusual collaboration between Calgary artist Dianne Bos and Hamilton astronomer Doug Welch. The work, named after the phenomenological traces of cataclysmic events known as supernovas, provides a recreation of the Tycho supernova and the Cas A supernova, which exploded during the 16th and 17th centuries. By combining Welch’s field research with artworks from the university’s permanent collection, Bos and Welch have also transformed the gallery space into a mise en scène of a period artist’s studio to allow viewers to experience the starry skies as they would have appeared five centuries ago. “Earth was considered to be the centre of the universe and the heavens were supposed to be perfect and unchanging,” explains Welch in a related text. “By re-enacting the Tycho supernova of 1572, we are recreating the first time astronomers truly understood that supernovas actually took place far outside Earth’s atmosphere … In many ways a supernova is a nexus of destruction, transformation, and creation.” Echoing Welch, Bos’ choice for an artist’s studio as the site of another kind of explosion, one of artistic creativity, seems not only timely but also indicative of the continuing interface between art and science. (1280 Main St W, Hamilton ON)

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