Skip to Content
All MassArt news

The Bakalar & Paine Galleries at MassArt present Encircling the World: Contemporary Art, Science, and the Sublime

  • Press Releases

The Bakalar & Paine Galleries at MassArt present 
Encircling the World: Contemporary Art, Science, and the Sublime
On view September 19 – December 3, 2016
Free and open to the public

Boston, MA – August 22, 2016 – The Bakalar & Paine Galleries at MassArt present Encircling the World: Contemporary Art, Science, and the Sublime on view September 19 through December 3, 2016 in the Sandra and David Bakalar Gallery. 

This multidisciplinary exhibition features international contemporary artists whose work is rooted in scientific inquiry and who create compelling visualizations of complex datasets or natural phenomena. The exhibition showcases artwork that makes the unseen visible, whether it is sound or brain waves, magnetic fields, microscopic cells, or the patterns of everyday life.

The title is inspired by Albert Einstein’s 1929 quote: “I am enough of the artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.” The term “scientist” was coined only in 1834⎯by analogy to the word “artist”⎯and both artists and scientists use inquiry, observation, and creativity as core tools for their practice. This exhibition considers some of the ways in which we communicate and translate knowledge and experiences in various disciplines, and showcases artists using novel methods to materialize scientific knowledge into aesthetically captivating artworks. Works on view include animated visualizations of birdsongs, sculptures inspired by the UV grids that butterflies use for migration, microphotography of the crystallization of human tears, as well as an interactive app that lets viewers see their own brainwaves.

The work of 14 artists is included in this exhibition: Rogan Brown, Pablo Carlos Budassi, Rose-Lynn Fisher, Laurie Frick, Jennifer Hall, Perry Hall, Stanton Hunter, Julie Martini ’03, Nathalie Miebach ’06, Vik Muniz, Mary Bates Neubauer, Lisa Park, Ariana Page Russell, and Andy Thomas.

Magic Circle by Rogan Brown Violet Julie Martini

Left: Rogan Brown. Magic Circle, 2015. Hand and laser cut paper. Center: Ariana Page Russell. Violet, 2015. Archival pigment print.
Right: Julie Martini, Untitled I (Blooms), 2011. Acrylic and gouache on paper. All images courtesy the artists.

Local artists include MassArt alumnae Nathalie Miebach (MFA ‘06), who has created two-dimensional maps of sounds she observed in Boston’s Copley Square, and Julie Martini (MFA ‘03), whose marbled works on paper recall cellular growth and celestial bodies. Additionally, the exhibition includes works by western Massachusetts-based artist Perry Hall that explore fluid dynamics, with a video of the unexpected patterns created by sound waves moving through paint, another video revealing the fascinating behaviors of ferrofluid (a magnetic liquid), and decalcomania paintings. Lastly, MassArt faculty Jennifer Hall’s sculptural interpretations of her brainwaves during an epileptic event, recorded by an electroencephalogram (EEG) device while she slept, will also be on view.

Left: Nathalie Miebach. July 28th – 4:26pm – 4:34pm, Copley Square, 2015. Watercolor paper and acrylic.
Right: Jennifer Hall. Epileptiform Sterling Silver: 5 REM from the Consciousness as a Property of Matter Series, 2000. Sterling silver.
All images courtesy the artists. 

The works featured in Encircling the World highlight some of the irreducible complexities of the world and the diversity of human methods we use to try to comprehend them. Playing in the realm of experience beyond the measurable⎯the sublime⎯they remind us that we can imagine far more than we can ever know. 

This exhibition was curated by Darci Hanna, Curatorial Associate for the Bakalar & Paine Galleries at MassArt. 

Special Events

Opening Reception and UNBOUND Campaign Launch Celebration
Monday, September 19, 6:30 – 8pm
Free and open to the public

ArtWeek Boston 
Saturday, October 1, 1 – 2:30pm
Explore Encircling the World through interactive activities and curator talk with Darci Hanna. 
Free and open to the public.

Family Day
Saturday, October 22, 11am – 4pm
Free and open to the public
Twice a year, visitors of all ages are invited to Family Day at the Galleries. Drop in for fun-filled art making activities, designed and led by MassArt art education students, inspired by the exhibitions on view. Refreshments served.

Plan Your Visit

Hours: Monday through Saturday 12 – 6pm, Wednesdays 12 – 8 pm (closed Sundays)
Free and open to the public 

621 Huntington Avenue (Avenue of the Arts), Boston 
Enter through the Design and Media Center 

Public transportation
MBTA Green Line E Train (Longwood Medical Area stop)
Route 39 MBTA bus (Huntington Ave @ Longwood Ave stop)


About The Bakalar & Paine Galleries

The largest free contemporary art space in New England, the Bakalar & Paine Galleries are a venue for national and international contemporary art and serve as a vital cultural resource for the College, Boston, and beyond. The Galleries host 4 professional exhibitions annually in addition to Family Days, receptions, and lectures. For more information about the Bakalar & Paine Galleries visit

About the UNBOUND Campaign

In May 2016 MassArt officially kicked off the public phase of its UNBOUND: Campaign for the Bakalar & Paine Galleries with a $1 million gift from Pace Gallery founder and MassArt alumnus Arne Glimcher (BA’60, Painting). The UNBOUND campaign’s public phase seeks to raise $5 million towards the $12 million total. UNBOUND will fund a transformative revitalization of the 8,000 square foot, three-floor gallery space, which is the largest free contemporary art space in New England and currently showcases 4 exhibitions per year by some of the world’s most influential and emerging artists in contemporary art. Campaign funds will support restoration and preservation within the historic galleries that occupy one of the original campus buildings. Renovations will allow for improved public access with a visible street-side front entrance on Huntington Avenue, updated HVAC systems for year-round programming, new curatorial offices, and an expanded preparatory workshop. designLAB Architects have been selected to spearhead the project.

About Massachusetts College of Art and Design

Massachusetts College of Art and Design is one of the top colleges of its kind in the United States. Founded in 1873, MassArt has a legacy of leadership as the only freestanding public college of art and design in the country and the nation’s first art school to grant a degree. The College offers a comprehensive range of undergraduate and graduate degrees in art and design, all taught by world-class faculty, along with continuing education and youth programs designed to encourage individual creativity. Whether at home in Boston or on the other side of the globe, the artists and designers of MassArt are dedicated to making a difference in their communities and around the world. MassArt recently received the prestigious 2015 Community Engagement Classification by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching for its dedication to community engagement through public programming and curricular opportunities. For more information, visit Follow MassArt on social media: Twitter @MassArt, Instagram @massartboston,, and LinkedIn.

Media Contact

Susie Stockwell, Director of Communications, MassArt, 617.879.7066

image description
621 Huntington Ave,
Boston, MA 02115

(617) 879-7000