Event: ‘The Mother Art’ Exhibit Explores Animal Architects, Starting June 6, 2015

Image: Hope Spots - Coral Triangle by Courtney Mattison (detail), glazed ceramic sculpture
Image: Hope Spots - Coral Triangle by Courtney Mattison (detail), glazed ceramic sculpture
Image: Hope Spots – Coral Triangle by Courtney Mattison (detail), glazed ceramic sculpture

Art.Science.Gallery. is proud to announce the opening of The Mother Art, an invitational group exhibition about the architects of the animal kingdom. A portion of the proceeds from this exhibit will be donated to Mission Blue, a global initiative of the Sylvia Earle Alliance to create a network of marine protected areas called Hope Spots. Many proposed Hope Spots are home to the largest animal-built structures on earth: coral reefs.

Animals can be masons, potters, weavers, excavators and ecosystem engineers who build structures for shelter, raising young, or for attracting mates. Animal structures range in scale from a few millimeters to the calcium-carbonate skeletons manufactured by corals that make up the largest animal-built structure on earth – The Great Barrier Reef. “The mother art is architecture;” wrote Frank Lloyd Wright, “without an architecture of our own we have no soul of our own civilization.” When considering our animal relatives, the term seems to transcend evolutionary history, connecting humans with our vertebrate and invertebrate ancestors who have been building structures since long before recorded history. This common creative bond with other animals simultaneously ties us to our evolutionary past while providing inspiration for the designs and technologies of our future as biomimicry quickly emerges as the next architectural frontier.


Calder Kamin (Austin, TX)

Monica Kortsha (Austin, TX)

Annell Livingston (Taos, NM)

Marjorie Moore (Austin, TX)

Courtney Mattison (Denver, CO)

Walter Tschinkel (Tallahassee, FL)

These six artists explore the structures of a diversity of animal architects including birds, spiders, corals, ants and mollusks.


All events are held at Art.Science.Gallery. at 916 Springdale Rd. Bldg 2 #102, Austin, TX.

Exhibit On View // June 6 – July 18, 2015

Gallery Hours after opening: Tues – Sat 12-6pm; Thurs 12-5:45pm.

For field trips or groups larger than 10 students please call ahead to arrange an appointment. Admission is free, but donations are appreciated.

Artist Talk with Courtney Mattison: Our Changing Seas // Saturday, June 6, 2015 at 6pm
AdvertisementCourtney Mattison is an artist and ocean advocate working to inspire policy makers and the public to conserve our changing seas. She hand-sculpts intricately detailed ceramic sculptural works inspired by the fragile beauty of coral reefs and the human-caused threats they face. Courtney’s large-scale ceramic coral reef installations for her ongoing series, Our Changing Seas, have been exhibited at prominent science and art venues including the headquarters of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in downtown Washington, D.C., the Tang Museum in Saratoga Springs, NY and the NSU Oceanographic Center in South Florida, in an effort to promote awareness for the protection of our blue planet.

Opening Reception // Saturday, June 6, 2015 from 7-10pm

The opening reception will feature special guests, including many of the artists, and specialty cocktails featuring Austin-based distillery Genius Gin.

Artist Talk & Mini-Workshop with Calder Kamin: Impact Proof // Sat., June 27, 2015 at 4pm

Calder Kamin’s ongoing project, Impact Proof, provides educational workshops and bird safe installations for buildings. Windows are the number one cause of bird death or injury. Clear glass appears as an open space or endless sky to most animals. Impact Proof prevents window collisions with vinyl decals depicting illustrations of local bird species, and a hands-on activity for gallery visitors to create their own bird-strike decal using stencils by the artist. The decals both send a message to birds about an obstruction in their flight path and educate the community about one way we can make cities safer for wildlife.

Science talk with Dr. Hayley Gillespie: Animal Architects // Saturday July 11, 2015 at 4pm

In an exploration of the architects of the animal kingdom, ecologist (and Art.Science.Gallery. director) Dr. Hayley Gillespie takes you on a tour through the fascinating world of the architects of the animal kingdom. From the miniscule mud walls of the “daddy longlegs” nests to the immensity of the Great Barrier Reef, we are not the only ones who build!

Closing Potluck Dinner // Saturday, July 18, 2015 6-8pm

It is a gallery tradition to close each show with a community potluck! Free to attend. Guests are encouraged to bring a dish to share and may BYOB.

Art.Science.Gallery. is a crowd-funded art space dedicated to art-science fusion of all kinds. Located in the creative heart of East Austin, the gallery’s mission is to make science more accessible to everyone through science-related visual arts exhibitions and events, to foster the careers of artist-scientists and to provide professional development opportunities for scientists to become more engaging public communicators. Art.Science.Gallery. is also proud to be a Platinum-Level Austin Green Business Leader.


Calder Kamin is drawn to the contradictory aspects of our relationships with animals and the environment. Her sculpture and public projects provide education about the ways humans impact biodiversity. Kamin earned a BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute and was the 2013-2014 Utah Museum of Contemporary Art’s Art Truck Artist and the first Artist-in-Residence at The Beach Museum of Art. Her work was included in the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art’s exhibition “State of the Art: Discovering American Art Now”. She is a 2015 mentor for the Teen Artist + Mentor Program at The Contemporary Austin.

Monica Kortsha is a science writer and fiber artist who uses techniques such as yarn spinning, knitting, crochet and needle felt to create works inspired by the form and function of life. Kortsha’s pieces include a knitted spinal column, and an orb weaver spider web crocheted using doily motifs.

Annell Livingston first studied painting and drawing at the Lowell Collins School of Art, in Houston, Texas before continuing studies at the University of Houston under David Hickman and at the Glassell School of Art at the Museum of Fine Art in Houston. Currently based in Taos, NM, her current series Fragments, Geometry and Change has been exhibited at D.M. Allison Gallery (Houston, TX), the O’Kane Gallery at the University of Houston, Art.Science.Galllery. (Austin, TX) and Julio Valdez Studio (NY, NY). Her life-sized studies of bird nests in graphite and gouache have been exhibited in the Paperworks 2012 Juried Competition at B.J. Spoke Gallery (Huntington, NY) and Lumina Gallery (Taos, NM).

Courtney Mattison (description above)

Marjorie Moore is a mixed-media artist with a continuing interest for objects both found and collected. Her exhibits expand the accepted realm of taxonomies to include the scientific, the plaything, the detritus of decay, and the strange. Previous exhibits include Labyrinth, Categories under Construction at Texas State University, 2009; Remains, and A Different Order at DBerman Gallery, 2006, 2008; Categories, Collections, and a Cabinet of Wonder at Women and Their Work, 1999, and Collected Response with Steve Wiman at Flatbed Press in 2003.

Walter Tschinkel is the Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor of Biological Science at Florida State University. His pioneering research on the nest architecture of ground-nesting ants sparked the development of methods that allow subterranean ant nests to be sculpturally cast using dental plaster, wax and liquid metals. His work produces both an inventory of the diversity of nest architectures and a developmental sequence within each species that are at once scientific and sculptural.

About Nicole Basham 793 Articles
A native Austinite and soccer-playing mom, Nicole uses her 10-year-old son as an excuse to rediscover her hometown through his eyes. In Thoreau's words, her mission is to "suck out all the marrow of life", or in her son's words, to cultivate in him a love of "advenchers".

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