Artist Draws Inspiration from Science

A local artist is exploring the relationship between art and science through her work -- art and science have long followed one another through the major discoveries and philosophies of history.

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Lillian Warren is a Houston artist who is fascinated by science. Her latest series of oil and canvas works are based on images of DNA electrophoresis -- or DNA testing.

Warren is certainly not the first artist to draw inspiration from science. The two disciplines have long been connected. In the 15th century, as scientists gained a better understanding of the human body, art followed with more accurate depictions of anatomy. Artists began to experiment with perspective in painting and scientists were led to contemplate new ideas about the universe and solar system. Arthur Miller is a professor of history at University College London. He says Picasso is possibly the best modern example of how art and science co-exist.

Picasso's form of Cubism was based on the concept of seeing every dimension of a subject at the same time. He was influenced by the Avant Garde movement which focused on the interaction between space and time. Picasso tried to convey four dimensions in his work, an idea that also fascinated Albert Einstein.

And there's more to how science and art relate than just changing perspectives or using new technologies. Warren says she sometimes responds emotionally to scientific concepts, and that leads to new outlets of artistic endeavor.

Warren says art and science prompt her to ask how and why. To her, art is a visceral experience that connects her to the physical world.

View Lillian Warren's work.

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Laurie Johnson

Local Host, All Things Considered

Laurie Johnson is the Houston host for All Things Considered at KUHF NPR for Houston. Before taking the anchor chair, she worked as a general assignments reporter at KUHF, starting there as an intern in 2002...