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The art of Physics
Kelly Foss
Artwork: Yellow and Blue by Dr. Iakov Afanassiev.

When the Department of Physics had trouble obtaining artwork for their walls, they decided to look to a new source – their faculty and staff.

“We realized that there were many people in the department who created art and that it would be nice to have it around,” said Dr. Brad de Young, head of the department. “It seemed like a good way to involve faculty and staff, and their interests, in the life of the department.”

Currently the department is featuring painted works by Drs. Iakov Afanassiev and Mike Morrow, both professors in Physics; as well as photography by Dr. Chris Deacon, lab coordinator, and Fred Perry, the department’s system administrator.

Dr. de Young says the works range from the professional to that of serious amateur.

“We really liked the idea of being completely open to all,” he said. “We liked the variety that it creates. One other goal was to give these artists some recognition. We did also want to encourage others in the department and to show them they can do the same thing.”

He says part of the reason he wanted to talk about this project, was not just to show off the works, but also to put the idea in the minds of other departments.

“Obviously we are not terribly unique in having people with interests in the arts,” said Dr. de Young. “A lot of non-scientists don’t see science as a creative discipline however that is not how most scientists see it. A creative discipline creates different things – be they ideas, concepts, equations or images.

“Having it around reminds you that creativity, even in science, is not narrowly a structured disciplinary thing. It can be much a more open perspective because many scientists take that kind of wider view of it.”

The pieces, which are on temporary loan from the artists, have been placed in the department’s public spaces and various offices where people will get to see them the most.

About the artists:

Iakov Afanassiev

About ten years ago he bought a book called "Painting for Dummies" and started playing with paints, but things got really serious after he sold a couple of paintings at the MUN alumni art show in 2007. Inspired by this show of support, he approached the Leyton Gallery of Fine Art and was accepted. Since then he has exhibited regularly. His solo show, "Purgation of superfluities" was held in 2011.

He has always enjoyed painting and drawing portraits and figures and is now at a point in his art career where he can do portrait commissions. In 2008, he was commissioned by MUN to paint a portrait of John Crosbie (now on display at Gushue Hall). He also enjoys painting Newfoundland landscapes, as well as still life.

Apart from the Leyton gallery, he also exhibits at Eastern Edge gallery and the MUN library. He’s also gotten some exposure at art competitions and was a finalist in The Artist's Magazine and Canadian Brushstroke magazine for his figurative works.

He got involved in this project because he thought it was a great opportunity to share his works with colleagues and visitors of the department

Chris Deacon

Chris Deacon got his first camera when he was 11 years old. He then learned how to do his own black and white processing in his dad's darkroom. It took off as a more serious hobby when he got his first digital SLR approximately five years ago.

He’s interested in ‘anything that makes a good picture!’ and has a personal challenge to take a picture every day, mainly of local scenery. He didn't think he was a 'people' kind of person, but find himself taking lots of pictures of local musicians who play downtown. They like it because they get free publicity, and he likes it because he gets a chance to practice!

Until now, he’s mainly shared his photos on his Facebook page but some of his musician photos have appeared in the Newfoundland Herald. He chose to get involved with this project to share his work with his colleagues in his department.

Mike Morrow

Mike Morrow has been painting on and off since his high school days in the early seventies.  He took a break for a few years, then started back up with and watercolours about 5 years ago.

His key interest is in nature and scenery, although he has been known to paint people on occasion.  

The only places he’s exhibited recently are the Faculty and Staff show in the MUN Library each summer (First Space) starting in 2009, and the Annual Garden and Nature Art Exhibition at the Botanical Gardens each November.

He got involved in this project because it was a chance to show some of his work work to colleagues and visitors and to see it in a different setting (and in different lighting than when it is hung at home).

Fred Perry

Fred has been interested in photography (for fun) for about four our five years. With digital photography he says by taking 500 photos he can be sure at least one will be okay.

His key interests are scenery and nature photos because of their challenging nature, especially moving birds and insects. He doesn’t go far without his camera and he takes most of his photos around town. Some of his favourite pictures were taken in his own backyard.

He started displaying his work last year in the MUN library’s First Space Gallery. They’d been doing the show for a few years, but this was his first opportunity being involved. While they were displayed he was encouraged by the sale of his first print. He is hoping to be involved with the gallery again this summer. His pictures have also appeared in the Downhome magazine.

He got involved in this project for fun and to share his pictures with his colleagues.

Apr 30th, 2013

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