I want to send GrrlScientist to Antarctica. I'll explain via Rossetti and Audubon.
These days, art critique always contains caveats and perhaps ironic winks with the reader about visual opportunities missed by the artist.
Years ago, I inherited a great number of art books from my great-grandmother. After reading through leather-bound Ruskin, and books a hundred years old, I found a true gem.
A book about Dante Gabriel Rossetti that it is written free of irony, free of cynicism. It is a critique and a review, but one that found the Pre-Raphaelite artist worthy of unabashed, uninhibited praise. It was a medicine I had not known I needed. I re-read it from time to time to remind myself to aim for that high altitude of inspiration in another human being.
Since reading this book I have wished to find another review of art -any art- that speaks so favourably it evokes a thirst to experience the art through the critic's eyes.
When Open Laboratory 2008 came out, I was stunned by one contribution in particular. In that anthology of blog posts is one by GrrlScientist about John James Audubon, the ornithologist and painter, the only scientific illustrator found in most fine art survey texts. The blog post, entitled, Audubon's Aviary: Portraits of Endangered Species rings with well-deserved reverence and love for the artwork. Grrl laments the loss of the birds now gone that Audubon lovingly captured full of inquisitive life. It's a blog post I find moving and inspiring and that has changed how I look at Audubon and scientific illustration.
Quark Expeditions is currently holding a contest to send a blogger to Antarctica for the month of February, 2010. GrrlScientist is strongly in the top few but she needs more votes. She's in third place as I write this out of 575 registered bloggers. You can find Grrl under the name Devorah Bennu, and here is her essay. It only takes a moment to register, and there are no follow-up ads or anything.
I voted for Devorah and want to see her win not just because she is a scientist-blogger who can write accurately and with some wit. I voted for Devorah Bennu because she is the grrl who is not afraid to write about the beauty she finds in Antarctica. She's worth reading, she's inspiring, and that's what a trip to the cold continent deserves. Ferocious inspiration.
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