It has been a while since last time I wrote in my blog. It has been a great journey so far this semester teaching Inquiry at Quinnipiac University, the academic advising experiment, the sculpting and painting parties, the workshops and talks on Business Needs Assessment with an Inquiry Approach, the show that just ended at Spectrum Gallery, the sculpting demo I had there back in March, the sculpting workshop at Columbus School through ARTE Inc., the computer classes at the now Literacy Volunteers of Southern Connecticut, and a new partnership unfolding that gets me closer to understand my mission and the reason I do what I do… Well, that was a long sentence… Things are wrapping up as we are about a month away to finish the semester. The summer (if we get one this year in New England) is already promising good things. I think that brings us up-to-date in everything that is happening.
The Science in the Art
My students were working in groups to get feedback from each other as they prepared for their oral presentations. This is one way research in peer tutoring learning environments supports practice and practice supports research. In the process, one student was trying to find a connection between health sciences, specifically medicine, and art. To serve as an example that helped make the connection clear and concrete we have the Frank H. Netter M.D. School of Medicine at Quinnipiac University. Frank H. Netter M.D. was a surgeon and world’s most prolific medical illustrator. He helped medicine understand the human body with his illustrations. Interestingly, when people study medicine they call it medical arts. Not finding the connection yet? Let me help you understand. All the knowledge in science, or in any field, is incomplete without the capacity to think creatively to solve specific issues or to accurately come up with a diagnosis.
Creativity is the use of imagination of creative ideas. To transform that idea into a visual interpretation is just part of the “art” in anything. This might not be a strong argument for some but that is something to discuss with a guy who was smarter than me and many of us: Albert Einstein. He understood that “the true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination”. He also said that “to raise new questions, new possibilities, to regard old problems from a new angle, requires creative imagination and marks real advance in science”, and “logic will take you from A to B. Imagination will take you anywhere”. The art in science is often hard to connect if we don’t think beyond our day-to-day thinking. Equally hard is to understand the science in the art.
One question I get a lot is: “How do your wife feels with you drawing and sculpting only women?”. No one asks how do I feel about my wife doing physical exams to random people. She is a physician and a very good one. The best I know. We see the human body in similar ways in the connection between art and science, as well as science and art. Understanding how the body interacts with itself and the environment, and how to represent these interactions visually through drawing of sculpting is both an art and a science. The curiosity that brings research to life and engages the scientific mind in seeking understanding is no different from the curiosity that pushes the figure artist to understand the human body.