The Gap Narrows in Fine Art: Modernism and Women Artists

By Martinez, Alfred | Forum on Public Policy: A Journal of the Oxford Round Table, Winter 2007 | Go to article overview
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The Gap Narrows in Fine Art: Modernism and Women Artists

Martinez, Alfred, Forum on Public Policy: A Journal of the Oxford Round Table


The paper expounds on the matrix engaging science and art through the culture of visual fine arts. By sourcing the movement of Modernism at the turn of the century a social attitude is revealed, which focuses on the communication potency between science and art in Western art culture. Modernism's theme of "self-searching" educated an extended range of artists from Vincent van Gogh to Eva Hesse. Individuals like C.P. Snow and Gyorgy Kepes in the 1950s propelled a challenge to science and the arts to creatively interrelate their disciplines. In the arts artists of various mediums invented art movements and art forms that brought progressive contributions to fine arts media. Modernism in the 1960's actualized women artists into the new definitions of today's Post Modernism.

Definitions of new and different fine art styles are found at the onset of the Modernist era. In 1936, Meret Oppenheim becomes one of the first women artists whose unique style of sculpture symbolically embodies the Modernist approach. Eva Hesse, working in the modern abstract art of the 1960s, used industrial materials to describe a delving content. The artist author of this paper describes his own ventures into combining the astronomy process for studying celestial images to create audio and visual paintings. At focus in this writing are the inescapable influences of Modernism and the creative contributions of women artists who have brought science and art language into a new definition of fine art today.


The twenty first century, with its abundance of new media created by the latest digital technology, is affecting creative artists who are seeking new working methods to discover aesthetic aspects of the human condition. The modernist movement of early in the twentieth century liberated artists to think about their own artistic process, to question methods and consider alternatives, and to realize that the means and the media are part of the message. Since the 1960s artists have been trying to employ new technology in order to express themselves. My own development as a fine art painter began in 1965 and I would never have imagined a creative future assisted by science. Today this type of creative participation functions on a much wider global scale, and artists are creating new unclassifiable art forms of social relevance. (1) In this field some of the most interesting work is coming from women artists. The intent of this paper is to chronicle the advancing partnership of fine art and science, and the Modernist legacy of self expression, and will conclude by focusing on two women artists, Meret Oppenheim and Eva Hesse, whose work has been a catalyst for women artists for decades.

Merging Art and Science

I introduce my own artwork as an example of how art merges with science towards a creative end. It is an artwork encompassing images from the world of physics and astronomy in order to give a view of the universe. Using imagery from astronomy books to create personal vision is not enough for artists who seek to create tangibles forms. Researching scientific information of this nature involved talking to people in the field of astronomy in order gain pertinent and inspiring information. The most significant source for creating an image of the universe is to study it first-hand at observatories by looking through telescopes. This practice of creating art through unconventional methods is a legacy of Modernism. Working from unfamiliar sources engages adventurous thinking, which in this case led to creating personal interpretations through the lens of science. I employed electrical lights to produce unusual color affects -this combined with images studied at observatories-, creates a new aesthetic experience.

To create this series of paintings involved traveling to the American National Astronomy Observatory at Kitt Peak and Vega and Bray Skywatchers in Arizona, U.S.A.

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