Diminutive Messengers and Big Conversations Posted on September 21st, 2023 by

The Nobel Conference is regarded as one of Gustavus’ best traditions, acclaimed internationally for being a meeting of the best scientific minds. This year, the Conference, entitled “Insects: Little Body, Big Impact” occurs on Tuesday, October 3 and Wednesday,  October 4, 2023, offering up a visual arts exhibition for students and the general public to attend.

This is a scientific conference, but there are still ways for people of all academic pursuits to engage with the material. Nicolas Darcourt, a Continuing Assistant Professor and Visual Arts Programs Manager in the Gustavus Art and Art History Department, worked with artist Eleanor McGough to incorporate visual art components into Nobel.

“Diminutive Messengers” is an art exhibit that works hand in hand with the conference theme created by Eleanor McGough. Darcourt describes her as “painter and a mixed media installation artist”, with her exhibition including “large scale installations of cut outs, collage works, as well as paintings.”

McGough’s artist statement notes “the narrative of my work weaves climate change and vanishing habitats with the conditions of loss, grief, and adapting to inevitable change. I am drawn to insects for their metamorphosis and ultimately find hope in the idea that transformation is an enduring possibility and a cause for optimism as life on our planet evolves.”

“McGough’s artworks are personal expressions of the subject matter of insects and the important roles they play in ecology” Darcourt says. “Through her visual handmade interpretations, the ‘intricacies, surprises, and marvels’ of insects can be discovered and appreciated.”

Her art is essential for the Nobel Conference, not just because of the subject matter, but also due to the conversations it will spark.

Darcourt touches on this, writing “to include art in the themes of science based conferences, is to signal that creativity and personal expression is an important lens through which to experience the investigation of our world.”

McGough’s work is not just for art students to enjoy. “Diminutive Messengers” is made to be experienced by all, adding an artistic balance to the science of Nobel. It is impossible to have art without science or science without art, and McGough effortlessly brings the two together.

There is no question that everyone should visit the exhibition . Darcourt touches on this when referencing that McGough’s exhibition offers the  “experience the detail, craftsmanship, wonder, and awe which Eleanor McGough wants to share with her audience about the world as she sees it.”


Comments are closed.