DeGennaro finds many parallels between an artist’s approach to creating and a scientist’s approach to discovery. Both experience a “common thread in the frustration sand failures that result from experimental work,” she stated in prepared biographical information. As an artist, she respects not only the beauty of a finished piece but the power of the process that created that piece. Her involvement in this project revealed the “beauty of a contemporary scientific study in the stages before it comes to a conclusion.”
The trip to Bonanza Creek LTER was particularly eye opening for DeGennaro, who was impressed by the scope of long-term scientific study: a scientist measuring approximately 2,600 trees for more than 20 years “is no small feat.”
“I find the long-lasting relationship to this very specific place inspiring,” she said.
Now 25, DeGennaro moved to Alaska from Maryland in 2006. Her fire pieces offer depth, revealing layers of color that feel alive and seem to move along the canvas. They are insightful, and convey a certain sense of strength.
“From the scientific community, I have gained knowledge and inspiration for my art, and I hope that art can provide scientists with inspiration as well, by re-awakening them to the wonders of the natural world that brought them to their field in the first place,” she said.
One of the reasons I go to nature as a source of inspiration is its ability to remind me that we are but a small part of a great cycle. No matter how linear our lives and societies might seem, with a constant emphasis placed on improvement and development, each and every one of us will someday meet our end and the material of our bodies will disperse and be reused by the universe to give life to those who have not yet received it. This humble fact of life has always comforted me. We call this a “life cycle,” but why do we not give equal weight to the life cycle’s driving force, death? New life is dependent on death, and it seems to me that there is perhaps no more visually apparent landscape to represent this fact than a burn area. A burn area seems so symbolically literal: fresh green life sprouting amongst our culture’s color of mourning. The contrast is strikingly beautiful. For this show, I took many trips to a local burn area to experience the rebirth of a forest after fire had brought death to many of its inhabitants one year prior. The art which hangs is a record of these experiences, which I wish to share with you.