Chico artist bridges gap between science and art

Science and art rarely overlap or rub elbows with one another. One is a systematic enterprise while the other dances with expression and splashes of color.

Marrying the two themes comes in the forms of “Fragments of We,” a culminating exhibition for Chico State University master’s candidate, Holland Larsen.

It’s an art show that brings the humanistic and emotional visual representation of art into science. Larsen will have about 30 original works in her exhibit and an artist reception with talk 5:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday at the Jacki Headley University Art Gallery. Admission is free.

Last August, Larsen’s mother had a brain tumor removed. It impacted her language, vision and memory.

“When my mom had to have surgery, it just kind of hit me,” Larsen said. “The basis of my show is fragile mortality but also something that is so science-based that is often explained to us in a scientific way. I wanted to introduce the more human aspect of it Tops & T-Shirts.”

Mono prints, woodblocks, etchings and a large sculpture piece illustrate these themes.

A wealth of research and reaching out to specialists in the field aided in Larsen’s understanding of what her mother was going through Sunglasses & Eyewear Accessories. The printmaker then internalized these notions into her prints.

“As a contemporary artist,” she said, “a lot of what I’m talking about is so logical and representational, and the way that I show it is abstract because there are realities from all this information that can’t be described to representational work Competitive Swimwear.”

After her mother’s surgery, the idea of memories lost weighed heavily on Larsen’s heart.

“I was just thinking about memories and how I’m not OK with them just being this ethereal thing that is in this part of our body,” she explained.

Her curiosity lead her to the enneagram theory. It explores the notion that all human memories are written in code in the brain.

She used her discoveries and applied them to her abstract prints. Larsen created a language for these codes based on specific memories and where they are located in the brain.

An entire piece dedicated to memories collected from loved ones in Larsen’s world connects specific smells, words and places and why they get imprinted in one’s brain.

“It’s not a unique thing, brain surgery or loss of memory,” she said. “Not to sound cheesy, but it’s going to happen Suits & Blazers, and for some it happens a lot earlier for people.”

The artist has been working on these pieces for a year and half, mirroring the time she aided her mother through recovery.

The largest piece in the show drapes across the gallery wall and represents the printmaker’s biological connection to her mother.

Woven within this piece are varied neuropsychological disorders inherited from Larsen’s parents.

It sprawls across the gallery wall to symbolize its progression of DNA and what children receive from their parents. The piece is about 40 feet long — Larsen’s largest creation to date, she said.

“It’s the first time I’ve done sculpture-based print making as opposed to just having flat prints on the wall,” Larsen said. “It was scary to see her scar and to see what was happening so I wanted to blow that up and see what would happen on a larger scale.”

The blush pink Larsen rendered to dye pieces of latex is the same fleshy tone of her mother’s surgery scar.

“It was just the weirdest color combination,” she said with a laugh. “The aesthetics of it were so bizarre and interesting. I tried to replicate it in my prints.”

The gradation of bruising on the latex and paper pieces strung together are sewn with a loop stitch, often used in medical procedures.

Approaching this subject as an artist while also compartmentalizing being a daughter to a sick mother has been rough.

“It’s been interesting,” Larsen explain. “The 20 smaller prints was about collecting written memories from my mom and my dad and my grandmother who has dementia and it was a lot more intense than I thought it was going to be.”

Larsen wanted to broaden this aspect of her show to include her other loved ones and not have each piece reflect her mother’s experience.

She asked both parents and grandmother various questions like what was their most impactful memory when they were 5 and 20 years old or what smells impacted their lives and the stories associated with each scent.

Larsen took their memories and transposed them into her artwork.

The artist tried to take a clinical approach to this gathering of information but she could not put her emotions aside Knickers.

“These people are everything to me,” she continued. “This is about people that I love and it’s really hard to talk about it even though I’ve been working on it for a year and a half.”

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