This year’s Crossroads of Art and Science resident artist Wendy Wischer partnered with FGCU faculty and students to create original digital works and new, permanent artwork on campus based on their six months of research and collaboration.
The Utah artist’s digital creations are on display in the Arts Complex’s Wasmer Art Gallery in “Wendy Wischer: Parallel Journeys,” which runs through March 1. The exhibition is sponsored in part by Gene and Lee Seidler, Alice and Dean Fjelstul, the Florida Department of State’s Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture. The Wasmer Art Gallery is open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday and 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Thursday.
Wischer exhibits both nationally and internationally using a variety of media including sculptural objects, video, sound and installations. In response to the growing global climate crisis, she has shifted her thematic focus to highlight environmental issues, finding ways to translate data into personal understanding and create artwork that moves the viewer. Her work links nature with technology, science with mythology and personal identity with universal connections.
A collection of video projections, “Parallel Journeys” is a psychological exploration of the conscious and unconscious mind — above and below the surface. Viewers may dive in and out of emotional experiences such as joy, sorrow, loss, anger, hope and peace. Water, specifically the ocean, is portrayed as a source for our struggles and pleasures, reflecting ourselves and our projections back at us in hopes that we might gain new insight and understanding.
In its third year, Crossroads of Art and Science pairs a chosen resident artist with faculty and students for interdisciplinary learning and collaboration. Wischer’s work with faculty and students also yielded “Sacred Spaces,” a project that identified overlooked locations on campus that should be discovered and explored. Four sites were chosen for permanent sculptures she calls “Templa” that consist of tree stumps covered with mirrored tiles.
“The colors of the nearby surroundings, as well as the viewers who stop and sit, can be seen in the reflection, creating an ever-changing view of the work since the reflections themselves are ever-changing and fluid,” Wischer says.
They’ve been installed at Mulberry Hill, two spots in the nature trail across from the intramural fields and by the boardwalk between FGCU Boulevard and FGCU Lake Parkway East.
Marine & Ecological Sciences Professor Win Everham, one of the faculty members who collaborated with Wischer, considers the campus as a whole a sacred place. Half of its 800 acres is preserved or restored land that provides protection from flooding, serves as habitat for a variety of plants and animals and serves as a living laboratory for courses in the sciences, engineering, arts and humanities, he notes.
“The people who work or go to school here walk boardwalks surrounded by green space, hear birds and frogs, see fish in the wetlands and maybe catch a glimpse of an otter, deer, osprey or even an eagle,” Everham says. “In our hectic, technology-driven world, reconnecting with the natural world can slow us down and help us find peace.”