UNCERTAINTY Exhibition at ArtCenter's Alyce de Roulet Williamson Gallery. Photo courtesy ArtCenter College of Design

UNCERTAINTY is the latest in a series of exhibitions exploring the confluence of science and art at ArtCenter College of Design’s Alyce de Roulet Williamson Gallery in Pasadena. Curator Stephen Nowlin has assembled nine installations created by artists and scientists in an exhibition that ponders the edges of knowledge and perception, and explores the poetics of data visualization. UNCERTAINTY, opening October 11, 2016 and continuing through January 22, 2017, kicks off with special events on Thursday, October 20 and Friday, October 21.

For millennia humans have sought to acquire and cling to the comforts of certainty while it’s anxious opposite – uncertainty — has sparked the imaginations, instincts, hunches, intuitions, creativities, and curiosities that have shaped us into perennial seekers. Through paintings, installations, artifacts, and data visualizations, the exhibition immerses viewers in the uncertainty/certainty paradigm.

Participants in UNCERTAINTY include San Francisco artist and electrical engineer Jim Campbell, whose ultra low-resolution study of ocean waves explores the boundary between information and noise, recognition and abstraction; Jonathan Corum, an artist and science graphics editor for the New York Times, who shows a wall-sized motion graphic of exoplanets captured in the sights of the Kepler Space Telescope; Marc Fichou, a Los Angeles-based artist whose leaning wall assemblages are vertical cabinets of curiosity; Don Glaser (1926-2013), scientist and Nobel Laureate physicist, who invented of the Bubble Chamber to peer into the world of subatomic particles; Los Angeles artist Lia Halloran, presenting ink renderings honoring the eighteenth century French astronomer Charles Messier; University of Notre Dame physicist and software scientist Thomas McCauley, video-maker of the Higgs Boson particle data; The Einstein Collective (artist Sara Mast, architect Jessica Jellison, artist and animator Christopher O’Leary, filmmaker Cindy Stillwell, sound artist and composer Jason Bolte, physicist Charles Kankelborg, physicist Nico Yunes, physicist Joey Shapiro Key), on the romance and mystery of a black hole; Owen Schuh, San Francisco artist working with mathematics and the uncertainties of algorithmic form; and Edward Tufte, artist, statistician, data-visualization pioneer and professor emeritus at Yale University, showing wall sculptures based on Feynman Diagrams.

In his catalog essay, Nowlin explores the oddball relationship with uncertainty and addresses how the seeking of knowledge through both art and science has made uncertainty into an alluring irritant: “In the seeker’s world, uncertainty is not its stereotypical composite of timidity, equivocation, and threat, nor is it license to fill the void with gods leaping the gap. It’s simply where we place a temporary ‘end of road-construction’ sign on the perpetually grand and noble journey.”

In association with the UNCERTAINTY exhibition, the public is invited to a free lecture “The Thinking Eye” by Edward Tufte on Thursday, October 20, at 7:00 p.m., in the Ahmanson Auditorium located at ArtCenter’s Hillside Campus. A wine reception and viewing of UNCERTAINTY will take place in the Williamson Gallery, following Tufte’s lecture.

On Friday, October 21 from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. the exhibition will continue its public debut during the bi-annual ArtNight Pasadena citywide event.

Known for his writings on information design, Tufte is a pioneer in the field of data visualization. The New York Times describes him as the “da Vinci of data,” and Business Week calls him the “Galileo of graphics.” His artworks in UNCERTAINTY are wall sculptures based on “Feynman Diagrams,” a visual language describing the behavior of subatomic particles invented by Nobel Laureate and Caltech physicist Richard Feynman.

During the October 20 through 23 opening weekend events, Feynman’s restored ’75 Dodge van covered with Feynman Diagrams will be on display outside the Williamson Gallery.

UNCERTAINTY is made possible in part through the generosity of the Williamson Gallery Patrons and a grant from the Pasadena Art Alliance.

ArtCenter College of Design’s Alyce de Roulet Williamson Gallery is located at 1700 Lida Street in Pasadena. For more information, contact williamson.gallery@artcenter.edu or call (626) 396-2397.

Williamson Gallery hours: 12 to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday; 12 to 9 p.m., Friday; Closed Mondays and holidays. For directions to the gallery, visit williamsongallery.net/directions

About the Alyce de Roulet Williamson Gallery

The Alyce de Roulet Williamson Gallery at ArtCenter has established a broad reputation for exploring the intersection of science and art. Through a two-decade series of programs and exhibitions, it has contributed to the emergence of an international movement among universities, journals, conferences, artistic studio practices, and design strategies that promotes an intensified collaboration between the humanities and sciences. http://www.artcenter.edu/williamson/

About ArtCenter

Founded in 1930 and located in Pasadena, ArtCenter College of Design is a global leader in art and design education. ArtCenter offers 11 undergraduate and seven graduate degrees in a wide variety of industrial design disciplines as well as visual and applied arts. In addition to its top-ranked academic programs, the College also serves members of the Greater Los Angeles region through a highly regarded series of year-round educational programs for all ages and levels of experience. Renowned for both its ties to industry and its social impact initiatives, ArtCenter is the first design school to receive the United Nations’ Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) status. Throughout the College’s long and storied history, ArtCenter alumni have had a profound impact on popular culture, the way we live and important issues in our society. http://www.artcenter.edu/