BRENHAM, WASHINGTON COUNTY At first glance, art and science seem like an unlikely pairing. But Blinn College Fine Arts Instructor Becky Phillips merges the two flawlessly, especially in her latest series of paintings dedicated to a recently-discovered theoretical particle.
Phillips’ 10-painting exhibit exhibit, “Sublime Encounters: Science and Art Collide,” will be on display at the Texas A&M Health Science Center SRPH Administration Building Nov. 7 – Feb. 1, 2014. The exhibit opening will be from 4:30-6:30 p.m., with Texas A&M University Physics Professor Dr. Peter McIntyre and Art Historian Dr. Stephen Caffey presenting. The opening will also include a question-and-answer session with Phillips.
The paintings were inspired by the Higgs particle, an elementary particle initially theorized in 1964 that was tentatively confirmed to exist in March, a discovery that made worldwide headlines. The mysterious Higgs particle, or Higgs boson, explains why elementary matter has mass.
“I grasped the relevance and the excitement that was in the physics community internationally, reading anything I could on the topic,” Phillips said. “I watched videos of physicists speaking about the excitement of being able to complete a mathematical formula through really capturing the theory of a subatomic particle.”
For Phillips, the excitement of that discovery translated into 10 large canvas paintings, all inspired by the Higgs boson.
“I was struck with a sense of awe about something that’s so miraculous and much larger than myself,” she said.
The exhibit was recently on display at the Science Engineering Art and Design (SEAD) Gallery in downtown Bryan. Phillips has also exhibited at the Kinsey Insitute, the Texas National, the Bath House Cultural Center in Dallas, the Forsyth Galleries at Texas A&M University, the Visual Arts Alliance in Houston and the University of Science and Art in Oklahoma, among others.
A member of the Blinn faculty since 2009, Phillips teaches painting, drawing and art history at the College.
“We are at a critical time in our culture and our community when we really need to instill in students and the public at large an appreciation for art, because it is the artist who takes a daring leap to live out loud,” she said. “The process of creating, of letting the mind wonder, to ask questions and to solve the puzzles in making art, is the mental space where the imagination is required. And these are the processes that students need.”
Blinn-Bryan’s Fine Arts Division offers 51 courses, including architectural design, interior design, drawing, painting, ceramics, digital art, photography, watercolor, music theory, acting, argumentation, professional speaking and introductory speech.
“When students are exposed to art appreciation, art concepts and artists, a whole new fascinating world awaits them,” Phillips said. “This kind of passion is good for you and I am so happy to share this with my students.”