GAMMA WAVE(S) by Julia Buntaine, 2012
2’ x 2’ x 3’, rebar wire
The work of Julia Buntaine is inspired by and based on neuroscience, the scientific study of the brain. Through exploration of form and interpretation of function, her work seeks to address aspects of biological phenomenon including plasticity, consciousness, and perception. Beginning with biological form or data, the work has a strong grounding in science and then departs into the world of aesthetics as she manipulates the idea through the use of scale, metaphor, material, and form.
SMALL WORLDS by Julia Buntaine, 2012
2’ x 2’ x 3’; styrofoam, copper, dowel
Q: When did you begin putting art and science together and why?
Julia: I began making neuroscience based sculpture halfway through my college career. I had been serious about art since high school, but upon entering college I felt it was time to pursue other questions I had. Among other Intro courses, I took Intro to Neuroscience, and fell in love immediately. Neuroscience was not only answering my questions, but enabling me to ask more. Hooked, for three years I ran from the lab to the art studio and back again, completely split between the two. As a junior, with my thesis topic deadline upon me, in a moment of perhaps my most profound inspiration I realized I didn’t have choose between, because I could combine the two instead. My life went from neuroscience and sculpture to NeuroSculpture, and I have not turned back since.
Q: As an art-sci practitioner, what are your goals for your current work?
Julia: Art inherently demands subjective judgment and interpretation, and unlike reading articles or looking at data charts, concepts embodied in art are understood without words. Many science topics often have the reputation of being too complex to understand, and in my work that I hope to provide my audience an alternative way to understand the wonders of biology we have discovered in ourselves.
Q: What are the challenges you currently face in doing your work?
Julia: As a bio-artist I face both the challenges every artist faces, and the challenges of my particular subject matter. For the former, it is most often a matter of building. What materials best suit my concept? How can I build something which is large, and light? Where can I buy 2,000 ¾” mirror tiles? As for the latter, in making each piece I feel I dance around the line between the scientific and aesthetic, fact and imagination, and with each work I must find the line, the perfect balance, as the success of my piece is measured by my viewer’s understanding and enjoyment.
EMPIRE by Julia Buntaine, 2013
1' x 1' x 3', wood
Born in Massachusetts, Buntaine attained her BA from Hampshire College, her post-baccalaureate certificate from Maryland Institute College of Art, and is currently a graduate student at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. Buntaine has been in a variety of exhibitions at Hampshire College, MICA and SVA, has a permanent outdoor work on the grounds of Hampshire College, and has a piece in Johns Hopkins University’s private collection. The artist is currently working and living in New York City.
NEURON by Julia Buntaine, 2010
3’x 4’ x 11’; concrete, doll hair
detail of NEURON surface