The University of Lethbridge Art Gallery is pleased to launch the latest installment in our art + people = x series. This video documents a performance event by artist Bekk Wells that we commissioned for the opening of the University of Lethbridge’s Science Commons building on September 13, 2019. The work is perfectly fitting for this series given that the performance centres on banners depicting scientific equations. Procession for the Physical Sciences celebrates relationships and hybridity – in the formulas, in the performance, and in the interactions between art and science.
All too often, people think that art and science are completely unrelated and that trying to combine them only involves simplistic ideas such as artists making images of scientific phenomena. In reality, the two areas overlap and inform each other in a myriad of ways and there are many people who work and study within both fields. University of Lethbridge alumnus Bekk Wells drew on his dual background as a chemist and a visual artist to produce this interactive performance. Volunteers from across campus carried dozens of pairs of hand-stitched, colourful banners that each depict a different scientific or mathematical equation. The event created an unexpected presence for mathematical language within a public forum and it brought artists, scientists, and members of the general public together to generate an opportunity for new connections between disciplines. This artwork is about relations: equations are a way to describe relations between measurable quantities – and the Procession fo the Physical Sciences was a way to promote relations between individuals and communities.
Bekk Wells was born in Northern Alberta and has lived in various locations throughout the province. He has a Bachelor of Science in chemistry from the University of Lethbridge, where he also studied art, and a Master of Arts in Art and Science from Central St Martins in London, England. He has exhibited his work at the Royal Society and the Tate Exchange, and in 2018 curated an independent exhibition in a South London warehouse. He is interested in the role of art in forging connections between the tangible and the abstract. His recent work focuses on experience, knowledge, and materials.