Art show partners creation with science

January 24, 2011

ASU Sustainability contest inspires paintings, sculpture and multimedia

Fertilizer is rarely an inspiration for an art show, but on Feb. 5, at the Desert Botanical Garden, sustainability, fertilizer and phosphorus scarcity will provide fertile fuel for creative vision. Download Full Image

The art show, a juried exhibition with more than 20 works by artists from Phoenix, Chicago, Portland and Houston, was created in partnership with scientists engaged in the Sustainable Phosphorus Summit, to take place Feb. 3-5, at ASU. The exhibition will include paintings, photography, sculpture, multimedia and innovative approaches to portraying sustainability through dance and music.

Free and open to the public, the art show starts at noon, with the top prizes awarded at 6:30 p.m. An RSVP is required to attend: sustainablePsummit+DBG">">

Phosphorus is an essential nutrient for life – without it, we cannot grow our food or build our bones – and scientists are concerned about an emerging threat of phosphorus scarcity, as well as the impacts of phosphorus run-off on lakes and oceans. Local artist Patricia Sahertian developed a series of eight collages that examine phosphorus – from mining, to use in agriculture, to its eventual elimination (or recycling) in the water and waste streams – through conversations with three graduate students from ASU, including summit organizer Elizabeth Cook, a doctoral student in the School of Life Sciences.

“The idea of collaborating with scientists intrigued me because, after art, I am drawn to life sciences, learning about how things work, the body, nature, organisms,” Sahertian says. “What I feel is dynamic about this work is how they lay out the budget of phosphorus in the city of Phoenix in a visual and simplistic manner that everyone can relate to. The pieces also create a sense of nostalgia because of the types of ephemera that were used, hopefully encouraging a reconnection to a simpler time. Somehow I think that is what sustainability says to me.”

Scientist David Iwaniec, an urban ecology fellow with the Global Institute of Sustainability, believes that the most compelling part of the art show is that it will communicate much more than just the basics of the phosphorus sustainability issue.

“Introducing and communicating the issue is an important initial step, but the art pieces go beyond the simple problem of phosphorus scarcity and embrace the complexity at play,” he says.

Artists and scientists, often viewed as immutably different from one another, gain much from the opportunity to work together creatively. Todd Grossman, a local painter and piano teacher, observes: “I wanted to produce a piece of art that was not only relevant to the subject and the scientist, but to myself as an artist. I think any experience that allows people to see a correlation between art and what is typically deemed “important” or necessary is beneficial.”

Collaborations also led to the incorporation of biological materials into the works themselves, including corn, sand, soybeans, switch grass and snails. For example, in her work “Our Floating Days” multimedia artist Angela Cazel Jahn learned to grow the crustacean Daphnia and algae from James Elser, Regents’ Professor and one of the three ASU scientists who founded ASU’s Sustainable Phosphorus Initiative.

Jahn says their work is a “whimsical metaphor of how we entertain uncertainty and vague premonitions of disruption or change. Crazy-big problems like peak oil, climate change, and phosphorus scarcity loom ahead, but still most of us live our everyday lives immersed in the routine and circumstance of our time and place.”

“What happens next in the story of phosphorus sustainability is going to depend on how it is told and who is telling it to what audience,” Jahn adds. “Participants in this ASU summit will influence that story, so the words they will choose are important. Their remarks and perspectives may eventually define the messages that will change policy, advance industrial practices, and be broadcast to the public.” 

Jahn’s artistic partners also include Cory Dunnington of Leaning Tree Glass Studios and Frances McMahon-Ward, a digital arts instructor with Xavier College Prep Academy.

The works will be judged by Dennita Sewell, a curator with the Phoenix Art Museum; Mark Edwards, a professor with the W. P. Carey School of Business and partner in ASU’s Sustainable Phosphorus Initiative; Barry Sparkman, a local artist and arts and humanities liaison with the Global Institute of Sustainability; and a scientist from ASU’s School of Life Sciences in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

In addition to the artists, judges and their collaborators, ASU’s Sustainable Phosphorus Summit will bring together international experts, including local farmers and specialists in mining, fertilizer, business development and science-based inquiry, to discuss emerging global shortages of phosphorus, food security and development of sustainable solutions.

The art show is the result of a contest developed by organizers of the summit, ASU graduate students in the School of Life Sciences and School of Sustainability.

Elser's hope is that people attending the art show, “by coming into contact with surprising or striking or humorous or shocking works of art,” will remember phosphorus and be mindful about how it’s used.

You might even find yourself cracking open your biology or geology textbooks more often just to view sustainability and our world through these artists’ eyes. 

The Sustainable Phosphorus Art Show is scheduled to take place from noon to 7 p.m., Feb. 5, at the Desert Botanical Garden, in Phoenix. Cash bar and reception will take place from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

If you miss the exhibit Feb. 5, the art show will move to ASU’s Step Gallery, in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, in Tempe, from Feb. 14-18.

Additional information on the scientific program of the Sustainable Phosphorus Summit can be found" target="_blank">here. For more information on phosphorus sustainability, visit" target="_blank">

Margaret Coulombe

Director, Executive Communications, Office of the University Provost


Wrestling falls to visiting CS Bakersfield

January 24, 2011


Friday night’s Pac-10 Conference dual between Arizona State University and visiting CS Bakersfield kept the crowd of 887 on hand entertained as several close matches were contested, but in the end, the Sun Devils dropped their fourth dual in a row, this time in a 27-17 setback to the Roadrunners. The loss drops the Sun Devils to 5-8 (1-1 Pac-10) while CSUB improved to 3-3 (2-2 Pac-10). Download Full Image

The crowd erupted in cheers for the first of many times right off opening whistle as No. 2 Anthony">">... Robles was first up, taking on Tyler Iwamura at 125 pounds. After both men jockeyed for position, Robles was able to finish a shot and took down Iwamura before turning him three times to take a 11-0 lead. The period ended with Robles on top, 11-2, as his final attempt to roll through for another turn slipped and allowed Iwamura to score the reverse. Robles chose top to open the second and score three on a near-fall count (14-2) before Iwamura escaped and Robles took him back down (16-3). In the third, Iwamura chose top with Robles escaping and the scoring the clinching points on a takedown with six seconds remaining to win a 19-3 technical fall, the 16th of the season for Robles (23-0).

The ASU lead of 5-0 didn’t last too long as the visitors won four in a row to build a 18-5. Kalin">">... Goodsite, who dropped down to 133 for the first time this year, put up a strong showing against Frank Lomas, but a late takedown and two near-fall points was the deciding factor in a 8-4 decision for Lomas. At 141, Carlos">">C... Castro made his dual debut, falling in a pin at 3:56 to No. 20 Elijah Nacita. Tai">">Tai Fukumoto kept the score close in his match at 149 with John Cardenas, but was unable to find his offense and dropped a 10-3 decision before CSUB won by forfeit at 157 due to an injury to Bubba">">B... Jenkins.

Following an intermission, the crowd was quickly brought back to life at 165 pounds as Te">">Te Edwards won by fall in 1:43 over Trevor Hall (18-11 team score). Both men were pushing the pace near the edge of the mat when Hall looked to have secured a leg and was looking to finish the takedown. But, in a scramble, Edwards maintained his composure and worked Hall to his back for a takedown and eventually stacked up the Roadrunner to earn the pin and six team points. Despite the win, ASU was forced to give back those six point at 174 as Eric">">Eric Starks was also sidelined tonight with an injury, giving Joey Granata a win by forfeit (24-11).

The Sun Devils continued to build momentum despite the forfeit with Jake">">Jake Meredith scoring a 9-4 win at 184. Meredith scored on a takedown just 21 seconds into the match before Troy Goodban escaped. Meredith added a takedown near the end of the period for a 4-1 lead through one. In the second, Goodban chose bottom and escaped to make it 4-2 with one stanza remaining. In the final period, Meredith escaped bottom to open the period and was taken down (5-4), but then escaped and answered with his own takedown with under one minute remaining. His riding time point made for the final margin of victory.

At 197, Luke"> Macchiaroli was locked in a close match through one period with No. 17 Riley Orozco, with neither man scoring in the first. The second, however, saw Orozco take a 7-1 lead that eventually turned into a 10-3 decision win for the Roadrunner senior. In the final match of the night, two former teammates met as Levi">">Levi Cooper, who transferred into ASU from CSUB this summer, scored a 3-1 win over David Morgan, the man he trained with last season. Cooper decided the match with nine seconds remaining in the first period as he scored a takedown for a 2-0 lead. Both men chose bottom to open the next two periods and each escaped -- Morgan in the second, Cooper in the third -- for the final scoring of the match.

The Sun Devils play host to No. 24 Cal Poly at 2 p.m. next Sunday (January 30) inside Wells Fargo Arena, their final home competition of the season. The dual also will be Senior Day for Robles and Jenkins.

CS Bakersfield def. Arizona State, 27-17
Friday, January 21, 2011 • Wells Fargo Arena (Tempe)

125 - #2 Anthony">">... Robles (AS) tech fall Tyler Iwamura, 19-3 (6:54)
133 - Frank Lomas (CB) dec. Kalin">">... Goodsite, 8-4
141 - #20 Elijah Nacita (CB) pinned Carlos">">C... Castro, 3:56
149 - John Cardenas (CB) dec. Tai">">Tai Fukumoto, 10-3
157 - Andrew Balch (CB) won by forfeit
165 - Te">">Te Edwards (AS) pinned Trevor Hall, 1:43
174 - Joey Granata (CB) won by forfeit
184 - Jake">">Jake Meredith (AS) dec. Troy Goodban, 9-4
197 - #17 Riley Orozco (CB) dec. Luke"> Macchiaroli, 10-3
285 - Levi">">Levi Cooper (AS) dec. David Morgan, 3-1
Attendance: 887 • Offical: Art Lomelli