Art and science combine in Andrew's exploration of the human condition

26 Sep 2023
Watercolour on Hahnemuhle Leonardo paper in pockets

Visitors to a forthcoming exhibition at the University of Winchester’s West Downs Gallery may look at themselves differently in future.

Andrew Carnie’s show Being Human: Seeing Ourselves mixes art and science and promises to be a unique artist’s exploration of the body; how it works and how it interacts with the cycles of nature.

“I have been doing research into sleep and circadian rhythms. said Andrew. ““We all need restorative sleep but lot of us, especially students and young people, don’t have good sleep patterns because of stress and spending too much time looking at their phones and computers.”

Many of the works will feature three-quarter life-size anatomical images of Andrew’s own body made from laser-cut lattice work.

In addition to drawings and water colours the exhibition includes inflatables and drawing machines.

The inflatables, made from cloth-covered weather balloons, and measuring 1.4m across, inflate and deflate as though breathing.

Solar -powered drawing machines add random marks to existing works showing that our bodies are subject to influences beyond our control.

These new physical formats represent a change of direction for Andrew whose most recent projects have been large scale immersive works using video projections.

Also incorporated in Being Human is art produced by University staff and students at workshops run by Andrew.

Their work has become part of a series of  ‘pocket grid paintings’ which are made up of images within clear plastic envelopes normally used to display postcards.

Although Andrew is a resident of Winchester he rarely exhibits in the UK and the West Downs show offers a rare chance for his hometown to see his work.

His art is highly regarded in Europe and the USA, where he is known as an early advocate for Art-Science collaboration. In recent years he has staged major exhibitions in Madrid, Barcelona, Copenhagen, San Diego, Riga and Kansas.

Being Human: Seeing Ourselves will run at the West Downs Gallery from 11 October to 15 December.


Mechanical artists

The two drawing machines which will feature in the exhibition were made with the help of Bryn Lloyd, a practising artists from Southampton currently working at the University of Winchester. Bryn, a Knowledge Officer in the library, completed his first degree at Winchester School of Art, where Andrew was a lecturer, in 2018 and they have kept in touch ever since.

When Bryn attended one of Andrew’s workshops at the University he told him about his own art projects involving drawing machines which use a system of electric motors and pulleys to move charcoals across canvas.

Sometimes the drawings take minutes sometimes I leave them on for days,” said Bryn.  “Sometimes the canvas is spinning at the same time as the machine’s arms are moving. If a piece breaks or one of the motors burns out that is all part of the process.”

The random nature of the Bryn’s machine drawn artworks appealed to Andrew and he and Bryn have designed two new machines (one solar powered) as part of the exhibition. One uses water colours and the other 3D pens.

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