Artist's debut show explores the universe's bizarre beauty

Tan Weiyun
Carol Prusa seeking to "communicate what cannot be seen but felt" as she attempts to find new ways to manifest the most complete understanding of the world we find ourselves in.
Tan Weiyun

Bluerider ART Shanghai at The Bund recently unveiled "Carol Prusa: Strange Attractors," a pioneering solo exhibition by American contemporary artist Carol Prusa.

Prusa's debut show in China features 15 new works that explore the chaotic unknown of astrophysical "strange attractors" and the cosmic evolution of the "Friedmann Equations." Through her unique blend of science and art, Prusa delves into the interconnectedness of the cosmos and life, responding to the bizarre beauty that permeates the universe.

Artist's debut show explores the universe's bizarre beauty

Reviving the Renaissance tradition of silverpoint drawing, Prusa embraces this intricate technique once favored by masters such as Leonardo da Vinci and Raphael. Known for its precision and refined gradation, silverpoint allows Prusa to uniquely blend sculpture into her large-scale works, intricately depicting the chaotic interactions of cosmic evolution.

Inspired by the celestial murals of Renaissance domed churches, she has adopted this method to explore and articulate the mysterious beauty of the universe, linking her deep interests in astronomy and natural sciences with her artistic expression.

"I seek to communicate what cannot be seen but felt, the vibrations that are part of us all, including echoes from billions of years ago. Like scientists, I seek new ways to explain our place and manifest the most complete understanding of our world," she said.

Artist's debut show explores the universe's bizarre beauty

Source, 2024, 160x200cm, Graphite, stainless steel and acrylic on canvas

The centerpiece of the exhibition is a striking nine-meter-long scroll painting, "Strange Attractors," which illustrates the flow of a person's chakra or energy lines radiating outward. On the back of the scroll, the artist shares her poetry about the thrill of being alive and the Friedmann Equations, vividly expressing the complex dynamics of the cosmos and the wonder of human existence.

Artist's debut show explores the universe's bizarre beauty

Strange Attractors, 2024, 152.5x914.5cm, Graphite, acrylic on Yupo paper with aluminum hanging bar (back)

In Prusa's artwork, recurring motifs of floral patterns and embryonic-like bubbles create a signature style that is both enigmatic and profound. These elements symbolize growth and potential, reflecting the artist's fascination with the organic processes that drive both the natural world and the cosmos.

The floral patterns, intricate and sprawling, hint at the interconnectedness of life, echoing the complex structures found in natural sciences. Meanwhile, the bubbles, delicate and transient, evoke the fragility and the ephemeral nature of existence. Together, these motifs not only enhance the visual appeal of her works but also deepen the thematic exploration of life's intricate beauty and mystery.

Artist's debut show explores the universe's bizarre beauty

We Emerge in Beauty, 2023, 61x61cm, Silverpoint, acrylic on wood panel

Artist's debut show explores the universe's bizarre beauty

Whirl, 2010, 38.1x38.1x17.8cm, Silverpoint, graphite, titanium white with acrylic binder on acrylic hemisphere with fiber optics_02

Despite being rooted in boundless imagination, Prusa's artworks are meticulously crafted with precise calculations and layouts, often exploring themes of symmetry and repetitive patterns.

These artistic choices reflect her pursuit of balance and harmony, serving as metaphors for the orderly and logical nature of the universe's movements. Her works, by echoing these cosmic patterns, suggest that the seemingly chaotic elements of the universe are governed by an underlying order. This disciplined approach highlights the contrast between the vast, unknowable expanses of the cosmos and the human desire to find structure and meaning within it, creating a bridge between the infinite and the comprehensible.

Artist's debut show explores the universe's bizarre beauty

Mu, 2018, 91.5x91.5x5cm, Silverpoint, graphite, white and black acrylic on wood panel

Due to the complexity and scale of her creations, a single piece can take thousands of hours to complete, particularly because of the fine nature of the silverpoint tool. This meticulous drawing technique, known for its precision and delicacy, demands immense patience and precision.

Each stroke contributes to the gradual emergence of detailed and expansive artworks, reflecting Prusa's dedication to her craft and the intensive labor inherent in her artistic process. This level of detail not only enhances the visual impact of her work but also imbues it with a sense of timelessness and deep personal investment.

If you go:

Date: Through August 5

Address: 133 Sichuan Road M 四川中路133号

Admission: Free

Special Reports