Rebecca Kamen Discoveries Between Art and Science

If you consider that both science and art unfold through a magical portal that brings the glimmer of an idea or possibility into reality, you will understand the world as Rebecca Kamen knows it.

As an artist and life investigator, Kamen explores and specializes in the intersection of art and science by creating dynamic art forms that explain the illuminating, yet static, findings laying in numbers, formulas and calculations.

“Both artists and scientists can relate to visual expression,” Kamen says. “By taking a theory and turning it into a sculpture or drawing, my work enables the scientist to step away from convention and look at things in a different way.”

In fact, Kamen’s research has revealed  that many Nobel Laureates at some time in their lives have had a significant art experience, whether it is in theater, music or gallery works.

In order to do their work, artists  need to excel at preparation, visualization, using context, embracing uncertainty, taking risks, collaborating and application.  Moreover, so does the scientist or even, if you think about it, the entrepreneur who creates a new business. Sadly, all of us are rich in these skills as young children, but learn to dismiss them as adults to be “right” rather than “maybe.”

Rebecca Kamen’s work explores the nexus of art and science. Her recent large-scale sculpture installation, Divining Nature: An Elemental Garden, was inspired by wide ranging research into chemistry,  cosmology, spirituality and philosophy. She has also  investigated rare books and manuscripts at the libraries of the American Philosophical Society and the Chemical Heritage Foundation, using these scientific collections as  a muse in the creation of her work.

Whether her muse happens to be a musty book, laboratory or meteorite from New Mexico, Kamen is renowned for transcending factual science into spiritual forms that connect the two disciplines  and drive conversation between them. She receives high praise from members  in the scientific community.
“Rebecca has a gift for bringing out the spiritual dimension of science,” writes Marjorie Gapp, Curator of Art and Images for the Chemical Heritage Foundation. In addition, the Othmer Library of Chemical History credits her as the scientific artist who can “provide the context to shed light on  our changing ways of seeing  and   working with the ‘invisible.’”

Kamen has exhibited and lectured both nationally and internationally in China, Hong   Kong and Egypt. She has been the recipient of a Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Professional Fellowship, a Pollack Krasner Foundation Fellowship, a Strauss Fellowship, and a travel grant  fellowship from the Chemical Heritage Foundation. Her work is represented in many private and public collections such as, KPMG Peat Martwick Corporation, Gannett Corporation, IBM, Capital One and the Institute for  Defense Analysis.

You can find out more about Kamen’s work at:

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Written by Denise Mullen
Photography by Scott Smallin

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