• Sam Van Aken Lecture: A Tree of 40 Fruit and the Hole in the Sky

    January 24
    January 24

    Wednesday, January 24, 2018

    Lecture by Sam Van Aken, Associate Professor at Syracuse University and Contemporary Artist

    6:00 – 7:00 p.m.
    Members: Free, Not-Yet-Members: $10, Students: $5

    Online registration has closed for this event. Space will be available at the door!

    Join artist and professor Sam Van Aken as he discusses the intersection of art and science in his recent work, including an actual tree that grows 40 different types of fruit and a hole he cut into the winter skies over central New York.

    Tree of 40 Fruit by Sam Van Aken

    Sculpted through the process of grafting, the Tree of 40 Fruit blossoms in variegated tones of pink, crimson, and white, and bears a multitude of fruit. Primarily composed of native and antique varieties, the Tree of 40 Fruit is a form of conservation, preserving heirloom stone fruit varieties that are not commercially produced or available.

    In November 2013, a hole was created in the clouds over Syracuse, New York producing crepuscular rays. To create this phenomenon, a twin prop plane was flown through a supercooled altocumulus cloud deck. The negative pressure created by the plane caused the supercooled water droplets to nucleate and fall, resulting in a hole in the sky.

    About Sam Van Aken

    Sam Van AkenSam Van Aken is a contemporary artist who works beyond traditional modes of art making, crossing artistic genres and disciplines to develop new perspectives on such themes as communication, botany, agriculture, climatology, and the ever-increasing impact of technology. Employing “anti-structures and unknowing as generative processes”, Van Aken’s interventions in the natural and public realm are seen as metaphors that serve as the basis of narrative, sites of place making, and in some cases even become the basis of scientific research.

    Born in Reading Pennsylvania, Sam Van Aken received his undergraduate education in Art and Communication Theory. Immediately following his studies he lived in Poland and worked with dissident artists under the former communist regime through the auspices of the Andy Warhol Foundation and the United States Information Agency. Van Aken received his MFA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and since this time his work has exhibited nationally and internationally receiving numerous honors including a Joan Mitchell Foundation Award, Association of International Curator’s of Art Award and a Creative Capital Grant. Sam Van Aken lives and works in Syracuse New York, where he is currently an Associate Professor and the Graduate Program Coordinator for the School of Art at Syracuse University. Van Aken’s work is represented by Ronald Feldman Fine Arts.


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