Andrew Carnie's artistic practice is crossed by the dialogue between science and art, deploying his professional and academic career in the artistic and scientific fields. Through different media and formats, from organic materials, drawing, watercolor, oil painting, and audiovisual projections, Carnie creates a hybrid and transdisciplinary art that makes the viewer reflect on himself.
The world of science and art starts from the same stimulus: curiosity and wonder. Both the artist and the scientist have the talent to detect the strangeness in some dimension or segment of that which is naturalized. In this sense, both generate a fissure in the surface of reality and, in a certain way, stop its course to question it. Where science tries to understand and get answers, art throws unanswered questions and multiplies the astonishment by transferring it to others.
In both human practices, there is a powerful base of imagination, only that it unfolds in different terrains, that of clarification in one case and that of ambiguity in the other. Imagination, invention, and creativity are inseparable marks of scientific production. Just as questioning and the will to know and understand are also present in artistic practice. Art has great potential to promote interest in science.
In Carnie's projects, we can appreciate the crossovers between neuroscience, biology, technology, and visual arts. Works such as "Laser Cut Books", made between 2016 and 2019, explore the important relationship between drawing and human knowledge. This proposal presents two laser-cut scientific drawing books as an artistic object, with which the artist plays with the various symmetrical forms that the brain has. Inspired by the work of professionals in scientific drawing, Carnie invites the viewer to discover the beauty of human anatomy.
The magical structure of the brain, totally unreachable with our observation, has captivated the artist on more than one occasion. The "Winter Tree" project specifically represents the art of the "tree form", which is nothing more than neural networks. From this simple metaphor with the elements present in nature, this work not only shows beautiful abstract forms but also brings the viewer closer to scientific knowledge in a playful way.
Carnie's work is about questioning what is going on around him. The artist is also concerned with the idea of life itself; where we come from and where we are going. In this way, the artist's projects range from multidisciplinary works that involve the scientific community, such as the joint work with neurologist Dr. Richard Wingate and to engagement to historical anatomist like Santiago Ramon y Cahal in "Winter Tree"; to works of a more personal nature. The latter is the case of "The Last Gift", which reminds us of the importance of people's solidarity and their inter-connectedness when participating in the process of donation.
"The Last Gift" consists of a series of sculptures made with chocolate that serves as a thank you to all those people who decide to donate and save hundreds of lives. Unlike other projects, Carnie this time is not based on the discovery and contemplation of the human body inside. Instead, the artist represents an important side of medicine from a conceptual, as well as a social perspective. These types of works show the viewer that science is also traversed by culture.
Each work assumes a different relationship with the viewer; the materiality of them often has strong connotations, such is the case of the "Chocolate Heart", "Soap Heart", and "Soap Babies" work, projects where everyday materials predominate. Another recurring element is the use of biological materials, which in this case, contrasts with the idea of a hybrid nature, opening other edges such as identity.
As you will see, Andrew Carnie's artistic practice is about looking for connections. His pieces explore the world in different ways that question, re-define and re-imagine the conception of ourselves, our bodies, our thinking, and our feelings. Carnie's works function as "mirror objects" whose function is to make the viewer reflect.