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Elemental

April 15 – June 20, 2014
Opening Reception: Saturday, April 19, 2014, 6-8pm

Artwork submission dates: Friday 11th & Saturday 12th April 2014

“For the first time I saw a medley of haphazard facts fall into line and order…— as though one were standing beside a jungle and it suddenly transformed itself into a Dutch garden.” C.P. Snow.

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With thanks to www.ptable.com and www.wikipedia.com for the following historical snippets:

Magnesium
“The name magnesium originates from the Greek word for a district in Thessaly called Magnesia. In 1618, a farmer at Epsom in England attempted to give his cows water from a well there. The cows refused to drink because of the water's bitter taste, but the farmer noticed that the water seemed to heal scratches and rashes. The substance became known as Epsom salts and its fame spread. It was eventually recognized as hydrated magnesium sulfate.”

Barium
“Alchemists in the early Middle Ages knew about some barium minerals. Smooth pebble-like stones of mineral barite found in Bologna, Italy, were known as "Bologna stones." Witches and alchemists were attracted to them because after exposure to light they would glow for years.”

Phosphorous
“Phosphorus was the 13th element to be discovered. For this reason, and also due to its use in explosives, poisons and nerve agents, it is sometimes referred to as "the Devil's element". In 1669 German alchemist Hennig Brand experimented with urine and attempted to create the fabled philosopher's stone through the distillation of some salts by evaporating urine. In the process he produced a white material that glowed in the dark and burned brilliantly. It was named phosphorus mirabilis ("miraculous bearer of light").”

Mercury
“In China and Tibet, mercury use was thought to prolong life, heal fractures, and maintain generally good health, although it is now known that exposure to mercury leads to serious adverse health effects. The first emperor of China — allegedly buried in a tomb that contained rivers of flowing mercury on a model of the land he ruled, representative of the rivers of China — was killed by drinking a mercury and powdered jade mixture formulated by Qin alchemists (causing liver failure, mercury poisoning, and brain death) who intended to give him eternal life.”

In 1869, Russian chemistry professor Dmitiri Mendeleev published the first Periodic Table – not only a neat classification for the building blocks of a universe, but also an incredibly rich tapestry of artistic opportunity. Imagine lustrous metals, rich histories of chance discoveries, and the bounty of the natural world: an unparalleled artistic cornucopia and a wonderful opportunity to re-wed arts and science.

Elemental postcard

With thanks to the shows' sponsors:

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