Nature, Science, The Sublime & The Informative Encounter.
Lewis Andrews moved to Leeds in 2016 to study a BA(Hons) in Fine Art at Leeds Arts University. After graduating in 2019, Lewis continues to work in Leeds. In 2022, Lewis completed his Postgraduate Fine Arts Degree also at Leeds Arts University, graduating with a Masters Degree in the Creative Arts. During his Master’s Degree, Lewis’s practice became deeply focused on the methodology of translating information and data from sources within science into artworks. Lewis has continued to work and build upon this method in his work constructing a theory of working called ‘The Informative Encounter’.
Lewis has participated in exhibitions up and down the country and internationally with many notable achievements. Lewis held his first solo show '186,000mi/s' whilst studying at Leeds Arts University in 2018 at Wharf Chambers, Leeds, UK. Lewis was one of the artists picked to participate in the Aon Community Art Awards program 2019 running through to 2021 with his oceanic sublime photography work displayed in Aon Headquarters, London. In November 2020, Lewis was selected to participate in the Mayes Creative Watching the Sun: Virtual Residency alongside other artists with an interest in astronomy and ancient astrology. Lewis went on to participate in two more virtual arts-science residences with Mayes Creative and work from the residency included in a publication which was then included within the Royal Astronomy Society Archive. To name a few of his achievements as Lewis continues to work from his studio based in Leeds, UK.
Lewis’s work acts as a conduit between the realms of art and science. The supply of information from science fuels the production of visual material which in turn communicates the knowledge of a scientific endeavour. In short, Lewis’s work focuses on dealing with complex thoughts, ideas and facts within nature and science. Some explore those in which we seem to be overshadowed and overpowered in comparison by the vast distances, size or quantities. Others investigate moments of extreme power, creation and rebirth on a molecular scale or on a scale comparable to that of the universe. Questioning our relationships, place and role within the universe, environment and natural spaces.
- New Knowledge
- New Viewpoints / Impossible Viewpoints
- Visualising Data
- Collapsing Distances
- Answering Questions
- Open Up Conversations
- Condensing Information
- A Catalyst for information
- Understanding or attempting to Understand
The ten characteristics stated are the result of investigations conducted during Lewis’s time on his masters degree in attempting to understand ‘The Informative Encounter’ as a methodology of working. Similarities between all of them can be made in the sense of them all being used to try and understand or attempt to understand an entity, process or scientific data. So much so that ‘Understanding or attempting to understand’ is its own characteristic. Every piece of work within Lewis’s practice also conforms to one or more of the characteristics.
So, if there is a heavy focus on attempting to try and understand scientific information, one must ask the question of where the artwork comes in and play a role. The answers are also within the characteristics. Take for example Lewis’s ‘Cosmos’ drawings which offer a new perspective to the viewer other than the photograph from a telescope. Collapsing the distances has been used in Lewis’s ‘Origins’ artworks to establish the links between the atoms in your body to the delicate life cycles of stars which fuse together these same atoms within their cores before dying in spectacular explosions, a supernova. It’s for this reason that the characteristics above are not just those of the resulting artworks, but also Lewis’s practice as a whole.
“Is it the case that the artwork offers just a little bit of a distraction for our eyes whilst our brain contemplates the knowledge it communicates? Possibly, as I said before, in some cases it may be that our minds need a little help with stepping stones in the form of digestible chunks of data through an artwork to then be able to comprehend the information. In theory then, speaking as an artist, I could take a large number from scientific data and make a series of artworks and increasing the scale of that data slowly. Making it easier for the audience to contemplate the information contained within the work.”
From Lewis’s Master’s thesis ‘Attempting to Image the Impossible’, 2021.
Lewis’s artworks seem to interact and behave in a means that conforms to the theory of translating scientific information into something visual in an attempt to convey information to its viewer. If we were to think then of the audience in one room and a wealth of scientific information in another room, does that make Lewis and his practice (as well as any other artist working with this technique) a doorway? Possibly metaphorically. It’s important to note here that artists and artworks are not the only possible doorways into this room of scientific information. A simple internet search could be another metaphorical doorway. Either way, this is why Lewis feels his work is a conduit. Attempting to connect the two and allowing the viewer to gain a new understanding of scientific information.
However, sometimes the work itself will not be able to communicate the entirety of the subject matter. Instead, it could offer snippets to the viewer, enough to open up conversations that may lead them to further research the subject matter. The description of the activity in the quote from Lewis’s thesis above is what Lewis refers to as an ‘Informative Encounter’. The act of the viewer gaining one of the ten aims previously spoken of through the communicative properties of the artwork.
The Informative Encounter Schematic
Informative Encounter Schematic - Lewis Andrews - MkI
(C = rA + B) x D
Science (-rightfulness) = Data/Information = A
This rightfulness that exists in science needs to be removed at the beginning of our equation. You’ll never hear me say that one of my artworks is correct. The artwork communicates the knowledge of our time. If new evidence arises that contradicts the current theory or information within the work, the artwork will either evolve or be made redundant altogether. Nothing is right in science. For the equation, my practice only needs science’s main outcome; data and information from the present.
Visual + Material + Conceptual Approach = Individual Perspective/Practice = B
Data and information are then combined within my practice’s use of material and the visual outcome. Both are then coupled with a conceptual working method. The idea takes priority over the materialistic outcome of the artwork. However, sometimes the conceptual idea can dictate the material choice for the resulting artwork. A great example of this would be all my drawing works touching upon the element Carbon. Exploring the origins, cycles and uses of the element, the drawings incorporate a large amount of the element in the form of Indian ink. Therefore, intimately linking the idea and visual outcome through the use of the element being explored. In addition to all of the above at this point is my perspective of the subject within the work. Like a child exploring their surroundings for the first time, I have a genuine curiosity for the subject being explored and want to communicate this to the viewer or offer an alternative way to communicate the information and data behind the artwork.
A + B = C
A at this point turns into a remainder ( rA) since it remains true to the source of the scientific information and data from which the idea first emerged. The main component of the equation then can be written out as follows:
C = rA + B.
As some of the more eagle-eyed individuals reading this would have noticed there is still a component missing from the equation. D. The argument about the kind of encounter a viewer could experience from my artwork favours more of an ‘Informative Encounter’ communication through the ten aims with greater emphasis on opening up conversations and communication of new knowledge when working with scientific data and information.
In this case, the viewer’s encounter with the artwork in this manner, hopefully, fulfils the purpose of the artwork and amplifies the experience. This part of the equation therefore becomes a times ( X ) symbol for the informative encounter enhancing the experience between the viewer and the artwork and a possible successful communication of scientific information through a visual medium.
The Audience + The Informative Encounter
The audience receives communication of Data/Information through a visual application which may be more effective in the passing of knowledge.
(C = rA + B) x D
Informative Encounter Schematic - Lewis Andrews - MK1
Giclee Print on Paper. 2023.
594mm x 420mm.