|The Artists' Universe|
|From our vantage point on a watery planet in a solar system at the edge of a small galaxy, we have a breathtaking view of humankind's oldest unsolved mystery - the starry night sky. After centuries of study, the long imponderable universe is at least revealing some of its secrets. As human technologies are ever more rapidly developing, so is our understanding of what is "out there."
But can we truly appreciate objects and events that occur countless light years away, beyond the range of our telescopes? Or phenomena that we know about only through complex mathemtaical formulae, chemical reactions and sono-spectro-thermal detection instruments? Not likely!
Long before Neil Armstrong set a televised toe on the Moon, most earthlings had a fair idea of what the lunar surface would look like. Early in this century, realistic paintings, movie sets and book illustrations by Chesley Bonestell and other astronomical artists became part of our cultural awareness. These images, a blend of imagination and factual information, influenced TV productions, children's cartoons, product marketing design, and every other visual medium.
By the middle of the 1900's, preschool children worldwide knew that Martian soil is red, the Moon is cratered, Saturn has rings and Jupiter has a giant red spot and several moons.
The Artists' Universe will introduce visitors to both the art and science of astronomical illustration. The exhibit experience will instill in them a new realization that artworks in this genre are not mere fantasy; they require disciplined study, meticulous rendering, and they can be essential extensions of a very real and rigorous science.