Sherry Mayo (BC ’93) Connects Science and Art in Exhibition (inside) joke

From November 1-22, 2011, Sherry Mayo will curate the exhibition (inside) joke at The Augusta Savage Gallery (University of Massachusetts, Amherst). (inside) joke features twenty-two artists who embrace the notion of visual humor.

The exhibition is based on the idea that laughter is one of the ways humans interact and share influences. The fact that visual arts use a non-verbal medium gives artists the opportunity to use their skills to invite viewers to share an inside joke.

Unsatiabella 48" Tondo, acrylic paint on canvas, 2011.

Sherry Mayo (BC ’93) has spent her career at the intersection of science and art, and the (inside) joke exhibition picks up where she left off as a BC undergraduate. At Boston College, Mayo felt that none of the majors offered quite fit her interests. Her advisor told her about the possibility of creating an independent major, and the result was BioArt, her cross between pre-med, biology, and art.

As an undergraduate, Mayo combined work as a bacteriology lab assistant and diener’s assistant at Brigham and Women’s Hospital with her artistic goals. “I utilized slides from samples of this research as a basis for my paintings and I wrapped up the experience with a solo exhibition at O’Connell House,” Mayo said.

Mayo’s area of interest is unique and interesting, but she insists that others have pursued the same idea. “In the 90s I found so many young adults like myself (Sputnik kids) that were encouraged to learn science and thought that it was cool. It’s really the aesthetic of science that is the attraction (see artist Matt Dion),” she says, “Other young artists were collaborating directly with scientists to make their works and were beholden to the scientific method.”

Neurotica, acrylic paint on canvas, 2' x 5, 2010.

Mayo sees the digital age as a movement that has profoundly transformed culture. She asks questions in her research regarding the sociological inquiry of humans and the way that humanity is transformed by Human-Computer-Interaction.

Her interests led her to pursue an MFA in cross-media fine arts at NYU, as well as computer graphics study at the Museum School in Boston, and an Ed. D.C.T. at Teachers College, Columbia.

“My doctoral research,” said Mayo, “was about…artists incorporating digital technologies into their studio art practices, yielding hybrid artforms, and causing an aesthetic shift or a digital aesthetic. I was in the middle of an avant-garde and I sought to explain it from the inside. The study was comprised of 8 case studies and an exhibition that I curated entitled, ‘Synthetic Pleasures.’”

After joining the BFA Computer Art Department at School of Visual Arts, she pushed into areas such as digital imaging. Her interests include subjects such as: the post-human, the hybrid nature of digital media, the integration of digital media with traditional studio practice, arts technology integration in education, the arts-sci movement, and new media.

Her latest exhibition, (inside) joke picks up where her research (and her recent exhibition at Westchester Community College) left off, the social relevance of mixing science and art.

Artists featured in (inside) joke: Maria-Elena Alvarez, Kristin Anderson, Kristin Baxter, Lisa Breznak, Holly Crawford, Claudia Jacques, Angie Eng, Matt Ferranto, Marcy Freedman, Carla Goldberg, Beth Haber, Richard Jochum, Carla Rae Johnson, Jill Kerwick, Gaetano LaRoche, Danny Licul, Christina Mazzalupo, Thomas McKean, Tricia McLaughlin, Gene Panczenko, Lise Prown, Paula Stuttman.

For more information on (inside) joke and featured artists, click here. To view Sherry Mayo’s bio and samples of her work, click here.

Rupture, acrylic painting on canvas, 2' x 3', 2009.

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