Over the course of two years, Russell was engaged in a collaborative residency co-organized by the Institute of the Arts and Sciences (IAS) at UC Santa Cruz, the UC Lick Observatory, Theoretical Astrophysics Santa Cruz (TASC), and the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art.
The residency consisted of numerous trips to the Lick Observatory, the UCSC campus, and the San Jose ICA. Russell was given the great opportunity to use the telescopes at the Lick Observatory, with access to it's extensive archives, and to meet with UCSC scientists and students to gain insight into their cutting-edge research in Astrophysics. The residency inspired and informed Russell's resulting 2016 solo exhibition at the San Jose ICA.
The installation of Russell's new site-specific work is based on current theories on the evolution of the universe. The piece takes the form of an engaging, walk-through environment that depicts an interpretation of a theoretical walk back in time, from the modern universe to the Big Bang. Multiple elements include backlit fabric scrims coated with bio-resin, embedded drawings, and sculptural objects. The scrims and sculptures represent scientific theories of astronomical events and phenomenon, such as galaxies, stars, exoplanets, black holes, filamentary web, super novae, cosmic dark ages and spectrum.
The exhibition's curatorial team includes:
John Weber | Founding Director of IAS
Cathy Kimball | Director of the San Jose ICA
Anthony Misch | retired Lick Observatory Astronomer & curator of Lick Observatory Archives
Conceptual and technical assistance on new installation work:
Laura Gruenther | Graphic Designer and Crotty Studio Manager
The exhibition and associated residency were funded by grants from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, the McEvoy Family Fund of the IAS, UC Santa Cruz’s Arts Division, and annual donors to the IAS and the ICA.