Tracey Adams and Virginia Folkestad: Primordial Soup
November 17, 2018 – February 3, 2019
“THE MOST BEAUTIFUL THING WE CAN EXPERIENCE IS THE MYSTERIOUS. IT IS THE SOURCE OF ALL TRUE ART AND SCIENCE.” – ALBERT EINSTEIN.
Primordial Soup explores the nexus of art and science – two worlds that seem very different, but in fact are very closely tied. Scientists and artists share a curiosity for the unknown, a yearning for discovery, and an appreciation for the beauty of the natural world. Artists Tracey Adams and Virginia Folkestad unite this dichotomy through this site-specific installation Primordial Soup.
In 2014, Tracey Adams discovered the work of Dr. Roger Linington, who at the time was a professor of chemistry at UC Santa Cruz. Linington Lab collects and studies ocean specimens, evaluating their potential use in drug development and biomedical research. Adams visited the lab and photographed the Petri dishes under a microscope. To her surprise, she discovered the microscopic forms were similar to those in her drawings and paintings.
This revelation inspired Adams to collaborate with sculptor Virginia Folkestad on a project that explores marine microorganisms and their healing potential. Adams and Folkestad created sculptural, audio, and lighting components to simulate a larger-than-life Petri dish. The result is a hypnotic environment as typically only seen through the lens of a microscope. The title Primordial Soup refers to the solution or conditions that are believed to be the origin of all life – a warm pond or ocean of chemicals that formed amino acids which then made proteins, the building blocks of life, more than 3.5 billion years ago. Primordial Soup marks the 15th year of collaboration between Tracey Adams and Virginia Folkestad. Their work shares a sensibility that can be described as pattern-based, reductive, and minimal.
Tracey Adams is a painter and multimedia artist who is interested in the intersection of art, science, and music. She was originally trained as a musician and completed her master’s degree at the New England Conservatory of Music in 1980; concurrently, she studied painting at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Adams has had solo exhibitions at the Monterey Museum of Art, the Fresno Museum of Art, and the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History. Adams was recently awarded a 2015 Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant. Adams’ work is included in the collections of the Bakersfield Art Museum, the Crocker Museum, the Hunterdon Art Museum, the Monterey Museum of Art, the Fresno Art Museum, the Tucson Art Museum, and the Santa Barbara Museum of Art.
Virginia Folkestad is a Colorado-based sculptor and installation artist. Her work has been shown in many solo and group exhibitions in Colorado and California. She received a BFA from Metropolitan State College of Denver. For three years she was the Artist-in-Residence at Redline in Denver, Colorado and in 2003 and 1997 she was awarded the Artist Fellowship in Visual Arts from the Colorado Council on the Arts. Her work is included in many public and private collections, including Kaiser Permanente in Denver, Colorado and City of Denver Public Art.
Primordial Soup is an ICA Sandbox Project and is supported by a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and ICA Members.