Local artist and professor showcases “Seeking the Unseen” exhibit with Sanford Underground Research Facility
In 2019, Gina Gibson, an artist and BHSU professor, became the first-ever Sanford Underground Research Facility artist in residence, or SURF AIR. This summer debuts the “Seeking the Unseen,” a collection which is open to the public, with never-before-seen artwork at the Lead/Deadwood Arts Center.
LEAD, S.D. — Making art with something you technically can’t see, ‘Seeking the Unseen’ was a collaboration of science and art at Sanford Underground Research Facility.
Gina Gibson SURF AIR & BHSU Professor says, “I was inspired by the infrastructure of the place. It’s an interesting place where you go a mile underground. I was inspired by the science because it was challenging. I mean, ‘Seeking the Unseen’ became sort of this idea that I kept going with because I really couldn’t see the things so as an artist, often times I’ll say what color is that? What texture is that? I was looking at everything from blueprints, Homestake Blue prints, the actual electronics that are used today in experiments like the Lux Zeppelin experiment. I find inspiration from so many sources that sometimes it’s hard to explain like ‘oh, I was inspired by everything.'”
Gibson says most people feel lost or overwhelmed thinking about big concepts like dark matter, but the workers trying to unravel life’s mysteries at Sanford can be compared to an artist’s work – both have curiosity in common.
Gibson adds, “I had an opportunity become the artist in residence at the Stanford Lab and what I was really trying to do, I wanted to talk about how the old and the new combined in this place, because you have the infrastructure that was previously the Homestake Gold Mine. You have current contemporary science, engineering and I wanted to talk about that in my work. So in the exhibition you’ll see the old and the new combined. I also wanted to make sure that I celebrated the science that’s being done because it’s so interesting. I mean, and most of the time we just look at as abstractions. We think ‘what are neutrinos? What’s dark matter?’ And your average person just kind of walks by that and says ‘it’s above my head.’ I want to say it’s not. I want to say it’s accessible and one of the reasons that interdisciplinary work, like artists in residence programs can be important is that it helps people see things that they wouldn’t see otherwise from a different perspective. So I was trying to celebrate this place.”
Gibson is excited to share her art promoting the awareness of science at SURF.
“I became attached to the people and the place. The more time I spent here, the more I realized that the thing that artists and scientists and engineers and all these folks have in common. We’re all curious, so we all want to explore. So this was a perfect place as an artist for me to be,” Gibson says.
The multi-media exhibit will be on display until August 20 at the Lead/Deadwood Arts Center and has plans to travel to other destinations throughout the Black Hills.
Gibson is now coordinating the program for the next SURF AIR.