Studio Blue is a multimedia coastal and ocean learning commons, where artists and scientists share ideas. Studio Blue is located at the Coastal Institute at the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography where the work of artists is on display. Studio Blue is supported by the Graduate School of Oceanography and Office of Marine Programs, the Coastal Institute, and the Rhode Island NSF EPSCoR Program.
Studio Blue Exhibits
B.F.A. 2014 University of Rhode Island
Art Advisor: Barbara Pagh, URI Art and Art History
Science Advisor: Susanne Menden-Deuer, URI Graduate School of Oceanography
I used ink and watercolor to render images of plankton in a cartoon style. I viewed plankton through a microscope, as well as looking at photographs from Dr. Menden-Deuer’s plankton lab. In my drawings there are copepods, flagellates and diatoms. I like working in a cartoon style, and think this approach makes the plankton look lively and have personalities.
Changing of Tides
B.F.A. 2013 University of Rhode Island
Art Advisor: Barbara Pagh, URI Art and Art History
Science Advisor: Anna Malek, URI Graduate School of Oceanography
Weekly trawls conducted by the Graduate School of Oceanography have been collecting data about the fish community in Narragansett Bay for more than 50 years. The study has shown long-term trends in marine life abundance, environmental conditions, and ecosystem dynamics. Since 1960 the temperature in the Bay has increased almost two degrees Celsius. Coincidentally, the abundance of phytoplankton has decreased, and the fish community has shifted from vertebrate and bottom dwelling species that prefer cooler temperatures to invertebrate species that tolerate a more moderate climate and feed primarily on phytoplankton in the water column. Also, the trawls have shown an increase in anomalous marine life, including tropical species such as the puffer fish, often brought into the Bay by way of the Gulf Stream.
Inspired by data collected by the GSO fish trawl, six species were chosen to represent the shift in the community brought about by increasing temperatures in the Bay. Pen and ink stippling, a traditional scientific illustration technique, was used to create the images on paper, handmade and hand-dyed by the artist.
Each sheet of paper is a different shade of blue representing each species’ preferred temperatures—darker blue for cooler temperatures, lighter blue for warmer temperatures. The left-to-right placement reflects each species abundance—left for decreasingly abundant bottom dwelling species, right for increasingly abundant pelagic species.
The artist’s interpretation of satellite imagery and GIS maps defining the geographic area covered by the Rhode Island Ocean Special Area Management Plan (SAMP). Aron Belka has been a pioneer in the translation of satellite imagery into art. Over the last several years he has created a style that combines the abstract and the technical. Through the lens of the satellite, Belka portrays the Earth as art – abstract landscapes that allow the viewer to appreciate each painting for the technicalities of the art and the physical place it depicts. The painting was commissioned for the cover of 41N, a publication of Rhode Island Sea Grant and the University of Rhode Island Coastal Institute.
Sara Lin, BFA Graphic Design 2013, Rhode Island School of Design
In collaboration with:
Mikhail Mansion, Art & Digital Media Advisor, Rhode Island School of Design
Rafael Attias, Art Advisor, Rhode Island School of Design
Eli Kintich, Division of Fine Arts Faculty, Rhode Island School of Design
Inspired by a semester-long interaction with scientists and the study of Narragansett Bay, Warming Waters is an interactive installation that offers visibility to the ocean’s changing environment in response to human presence. The colors of the painting shift from cool to warm, depending on the viewer’s proximity. Warming Waters aims to incite a deeper contemplation of the human impact on the ocean’s changing envrionment.
Materials: Arcylic paint, Arduino Uno, baltic birch plywood, denril, double panel stand-offs, frosted plexiglass, IR range sensor, jumper wires, 5V power supply, DC power adapter, RGB LED lights, SD card, microSD Shield, track lighting outlet, zip ties.
Abaca´ Fiber Datum by Chad Amos Self. Chad received his B.F.A. from the University of Rhode Island in 2012. His advisor was Ben Anderson, URI Art and Art History.
Abaca´ Fiber Datum was a collaboration with Chris Roman of the URI Graduate School of Oceanography. Chad describes the process of creating this work of art: “It would be my impression, more recently, that bathymetry and paper making have similarities. I presume these similarities are quite acute and probably altogether unnoticed. I must say that after using paper-making techniques to create an impression of a bathymetric map I cannot help but to find connections. The images taken from the seafloor can sometimes be stunning. Bathymetric maps can be quite interesting. They use primary colors to distinguish depth and isobaths to show terrain. When creating images with hand-made paper the only limits one has are the extent of what pulp-filled water can do. Pouring pulp is like painting with a bucket of color. Gather the primary colors, acknowledge the relief, and begin layering the image. This image is of a Stone Circle underneath the ocean’s water. It was mysteriously formed and many theories surround its creation.” Chad talks more about his work in a URI press release.
Studio Blue’s first artwork on display is “Micro-lume” by Chelsea Fredrikson. Chelsea received her B.F.A. from the University of Rhode Island in 2012. Her advisor was Barbra Pagh.
“Micro-lume” was a collaboration with Dr. John Kirkpatrick, Postdoctoral Fellow, from the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography. Images from Dr. Kirkpatrick’s research inspired this installation. Lit from behind, the panels are meant to reflect what is seen through the light from a microscope. Ink and paint thinner combine to make the images on the plexiglass panels.
The research project was focused on microorganisms that live about a hundred meters under the surface of the Black Sea, sandwiched between the oxygenated water above, and the anoxic, sulfidic water (think rotten eggs!) below. Living completely in the dark, the organisms are too small to see with the naked eye. They thrive on the energy created by the combination of the two water layers – as well as the decay of sinking matter. This piece is inspired by microscopic images of organisms filtered from the seawater and stained with a dye that causes their DNA to fluoresce blue under UV light. Chelsea talks about this work in a URI press release.
Jack Lovell, MFA Digital Media, Rhode Island School of Design
David Zacher, Rhode Island School of Design
In collaboration with:
Marta Gomez-Chiarri, Professor, Department of Fisheries, Animal and Veterinary Sciences, University of Rhode Island
Ian McDowell, Candidate for M.S., Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems, University of Rhode Island
On the East Coast of the U.S., oysters are under attack by a deadly pathogen. Scientists at the University of Rhode Island teamed up with an artist and a designer to develop a software tool capable of visualizing their experimental data.
The complete oyster genome is represented as a network. Each node is a gene, and over fifty thousand edges represent the potential relationships between pairs of genes. The software employs a set of thresholds for eliminating edges and isolating structure in a graph. Scientists explore varying configurations of thresholds to search for the gene that makes some oysters resistant to the pathogen while others perish.