From the stars twinkling in the night sky to the rings looping around Saturn, our universe is a ginormous masterpiece that has been formed over 13.8 billion years. Looking deeper and deeper into the cosmos, scientists and artists alike are left with a feeling of curiosity and fascination for both the seen and the unseen mysteries of the universe.
Neutrino Day: A Matter Mystery takes place July 6-11 and will explore the beauty and wonder of our universe. In addition to virtual activities for all ages, Sanford Underground Research Facility’s (Sanford Lab) artist-in-residence Gina Gibson will host a virtual art exhibit and reception.
“SEEKING the UNSEEN” will go live Tuesday, July 7, at 6 p.m. The exhibit will showcase a body of “whimsical” artwork inspired by big ideas of the universe, rides on the cage, journeys through drifts and a number of other experiences.
A new vein of artistic opportunity
Gibson is a professor of digital communication at Black Hills State University. A multimedia artist, Gibson uses a combination of sculpture, drawing, printmaking, digital design and other media to create unique bodies of work.
She also became the first artist to participate in Sanford Lab's Artist-in-Residence (AiR) program. The program gives artists the opportunity to explore the different environments at Sanford Lab—both underground and on the surface—and create unique artistic works based on that experience.
“The universe has inspired artists, writers and musicians for millennia. As a premier international research facility, it made sense for us to initiate a program that brings all of that together at Sanford Lab,” said Constance Walter, communications director at Sanford Lab. “Like so many scientists, Gina brings a passion for learning and exploration. We are all very excited to see her take on this amazing universe in which we live.”
Gibson said that her experiences as the first artist-in-residence have been humbling, highlighting her experience in the unique environments at Sanford Lab, exploration of complex ideas and examination of everything she possibly could.
“If I could go back in time and tell myself something at 20, it would be ‘chase other ideas,’” Gibson said. “I would tell myself, you know, ‘go after everything.’”
Unprecedented times and unexpected outcomes
When the exhibit was first conceptualized, it looked different from the way in which it exists today. With the outbreak of COVID-19, the format of the showcase had to be adjusted.
Originally, the exhibit and reception were expected to be held at the Lead-Deadwood Arts Center. For safety reasons, the show was split into two parts—a virtual exhibition during Neutrino Day and an in-person exhibit later.
“I think both shows have a little bit of a different vibe,” Gibson said. “The online one, so far is very whimsical. I don't know if that is the term people will use in a few weeks, but that is what I would call it right now.”
The online show will focus heavily on the science mysteries of the universe, while the physical exhibit will also highlight the histories of Lead, the Homestake Gold Mine and Sanford Lab.
Although the situation may not be ideal, Gibson has expressed optimism, especially in the skills and experiences she has gained. She believes that it may allow more people to experience the work and offer a unique opportunity to create work that may exist solely in an online format.
“It has changed the way I think about making,” Gibson said. “A lot of things came together that had never come together and overlapped.”
Experience the beauty of our universe
To learn more about the mysteries of our universe, the “SEEKING the UNSEEN” virtual art exhibit and reception or any of our other Neutrino Day activities, visit our Neutrino Day hub at www.neutrinoday.com.