What Will Nature Do? Lecture Series Part Two
Artists and Their Artistic Practices with Science
Lessons Learned During the Process

This series of talks, cosponsored by the OSU ArtSci (group), the Corvallis Arts Center and the Dept of Biological and Ecological Engineering, is by scientists who are also artists or artists who are also scientists with the goal to explore how their science might inform their art or their art might inform their science.

John Selker is an OSU Distinguished Professor of Biological and Ecological Engineering. He has been with the College of Agricultural Sciences for 29 years. He is co-Director of both The Center for Transformative Environmental Monitoring Programs (CTEMPs.org) and the Trans-African Hydro-Meteorological Observatory (TAHMO.org), as well as the PI of the Openly Published Environmental Sensing Laboratory (currently employing 40 undergraduates – Open-Sensing.org). He is also the president-elect of the AGU Hydrology Section that boasts 7,000 members, and a raft of other things like 100s of publications, only academics worry about. Importantly, John has worked in more than 20 countries across 5 continents and his areas of interest include environmental instrumentation, groundwater processes, and ecohydrology. And he loves making things, like wooden bowls!

John Selker Seminar Recording – Esthetic Satisfaction

Chet Udell was born 7.5lbs, 20.35 in in rural Ohio when David Bowie released the album “Let’s Dance.” Growing at a nominal rate in the ancient cypress swamps of Wewahitchka Florida, he reached 155lbs, 70in and completed his PhD in Music Composition with cognate in Electrical Engineering in 2012 from the University of Florida. He is an inventor on domestic and international patents on wireless sensors, a father of a 5 year old (and thus, a COVID kindergarten teacher), an assistant Professor in Biological and Ecological Engineering at OSU, Director of the NSF and USDA-funded Openly Published Environmental Sensing Lab, and director of the CLA’s Arts Research Technology and Expression initiative.

Chet Udell Seminar Recording – Instrumentation, Environments and Musicianship
Leah Wilson & Steve Wondzell Seminar Recording – Collaborating with Time

Leah Wilson and Steve Wondzell

Leah Wilson is a visual artist and writer who lives and works in Eugene, Oregon. After earning a Master of Fine Arts degree from the San Francisco Art Institute.

A 2012 artist residency at the HJ Andrews Experimental Forest in the Oregon Cascades introduced her to ecologists working on long-term studies in the forest. Attracted by the long-term focus of study, she is now an episodic lifetime artist in residence at the Andrews Forest. The place and the scientists continue to shape and influence her artwork. Leah’s interaction with the forest and its associated ecologists led her to realize that science in general, and ecology in particular, seeks to identify patterns (and changes in patterns) over time. Often, in terms of process and product, the most evident element of her work is repetition, rhythm, and pattern.

Leah is a founding member of Gray Space (Links to an external site.), a group of Oregon artists, based in the Corvallis, Eugene and Roseburg areas who came together to claim agency and circumvent institutional structures requiring artists to ask permission. Gray Space explores how art influences place and place influences art. The project invites the inclusion of an unforeseen or unexpected audience, broadening definitions of where art can exist.

Leah completed and installed her first major public art installation, Listening to the Forest, part of Oregon’s Percent for Art program, in 2020. It can be seen in Oregon State’s University’s George W. Peavy Forest Science Center. Her artwork has been exhibited at galleries throughout the West Coast and her work is in many public and private collections.

Steve Wondzell is a Research Ecologist in the US Forest Service’s PNW Research Station. He has a BS in Range Science and an MS in Plant Community Ecology from New Mexico State University. He continues monitoring the study plots used for his MS Thesis, and now has a 60+ year record of plant community dynamics in the semi-desert grasslands of Big Bend National Park, Texas. He worked for 4 years on the Jornada LTER before moving to the Pacific Northwest in 1988 working at the H. J. Andrews LTER. His love for deserts and sunshine somehow got side-tracked, and he ended up studying stream-groundwater interactions in old-growth forest streams for his Ph.D.  He has studied how hydrology and channel morphology control small-scale stream-groundwater interactions and the ways that these interactions influence stream ecosystem processes, especially stream thermal regimes and the cycling of carbon and nitrogen. He also studies the effects of forest harvest and riparian buffer designs on stream temperature, the influence of climate change and channel restoration on stream thermal regimes, and the influence of browsing by deer and elk on restoration of riparian hardwoods in the intermountain west.

Randall L. Milstein has been a faculty member at Oregon State University for 31 years. Dr. Milstein is Astronomer-in-Residence to the Oregon NASA Space Grant Consortium and teaches astronomy courses for the OSU Physics Department as well as numerous courses in the University Honors College and the College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences. His research interests include astrogeology, impact-cratering dynamics, and archeo-astronomy. He is a regular outreach speaker and enjoys engaging with the public on topics of planetary science, astronomy, and the role of science fiction in popular culture.

In collaboration with Dr. Joseph Orosco, Randall co-hosts the annual OSU TrekWars celebration. Before his career as a professional scientist, Randall Milstein was educated and trained as a photographer, and he is almost never without a camera. Most noted for his dance photography, in the last ten years he has begun photographing portraits of cosplayers at popular culture conventions. His photographs appear in solo and group exhibitions. They are represented in government, corporate, and private collections and appear in numerous publications, books, posters, and advertisements.

Randall Milstein Seminar Recording – The Science of My Art

David Maddison is a biodiversity explorer who fell in love with beetles when he was 15, and has expressed that love through his research on the evolutionary biology of beetles, and through art.

Much of his research is on the evolutionary tree of life of beetles, whose branching patterns he infers, and along whose branches he has wandered for decades as he explored the evolution of the beetles’ forms and their genomes.  

One of his passions is discovering and documenting the species that live on Earth.  

He is currently the Harold E. and Leona M. Rice Professor in Systematic Entomology in the Department of Integrative Biology at OSU, where he has been for the last 11 years (he was a faculty member at the University of Arizona for 17 years before then).  

He is also Director of the Oregon State Arthropod Collection.  He has done extensive field work looking for beetles throughout North America, as well as in Chile, Argentina, Ecuador, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, and Italy.  

For one window of time in days gone by, he was primarily a scientific illustrator of insects and continues to explore the art in his science in numerous ways.

In addition to beetles and art, he is also the co-author of two widely used pieces of software in evolutionary biology and loves the puzzle-solving aspect of coding. 

See more about David and his art.

David Maddison Seminar Recording – Patterns in the Beetle Tree of Life and the Interweaving of Science and Art
Illustration by David Maddison

Jerri Bartholomew is a Professor in the Depts of Microbiology and Fisheries and Wildlife and Director of the John L. Fryer Aquatic Animal Health Laboratory.

Her research team studies diseases in wild salmon, particularly diseases caused by myxozoan parasites.

These fascinating parasites are relatives of jellyfish and sea anemones, and use stinging cells to initiate infection in their hosts.

Using interdisciplinary approaches, they address questions about myxozoan evolution, how these parasites move between their hosts, and how we can decrease their impacts on wild fish populations.

She is also a glass artist with a long-term interest in exploring the connections between art and science. In addition to exploring these connections in her own work, she co-teaches a course: Art of the Microbiome, and coordinates the ART-SCI collaborative, and group of faculty and artists interested in bringing these ideas to a larger audience.

Jerri Bartholomew Seminar Recording – Weapons of Micro-destruction: Using Art and Music to Understand Parasite Ecology

Note: Recordings will be added as the Seminars progress.

Be sure to check back or follow us on social media for updates.

Schedule of Seminars

ALL Lectures, Tues, 4-5 pm (PDT) unless noted.
ACCESS: https:bit.ly/2PGpCWe and Password: 756993

In case you missed it, earlier this year we produced What Will Nature Do? Lecture Series Part One: Climate change Scientists and Their Research as additional inspiration to potential WWND Artists.

Access Recordings of What Will Nature Do? Lecture Series Part One: Climate change Scientists and Their Research