As a cross-disciplinary light and environmental artist, Ana MacArthur is interested in functioning as a creative catalyst, by excavating nature’s processes and connected metaphors through the specific lenses of life’s relationship to light, environmental intelligence, and appropriate technology.
Having had a history and interest in working with light, light based technologies, and immersive experiences in the natural world, her current practice involves increased fieldwork engendering collaborative perspectives with both scientists and non-human animals, thus deepening an understanding of our fragile bio-diversity. There is mutually a search for a positive meme that includes participatory engagement in completion of the work, which expands the educational affects. For decades, a thread has run through her practice that unravels the topic of ‘energy’, and since 2007 this exploration is overtly devoted to critical issues addressing climate change and species extinction.
Her process and practice-based research often engages with scientists at the edge of their interests and has its roots in the Light and Space, Conceptual, and Ecological Art movements. Starting in 1983 she became an early pioneer in a dichromate (DCG) holography and co-founder of a DCG lab for 20 years based in Santa Fe, NM. She has worked with scientists in solar innovation, photonics, behavioral biology, ceramic/ glass engineering, and materials science. She has used optical holography, fiber optics, holographic interferometry, translucent ceramics, and experimental low tech means to reveal the transformative properties of light. In early 2000’s she was hired by Sandia National Laboratories as part of their photonics education department, and to educate youth about unfolding photonics technologies.
MacArthur has manifested projects and exhibited internationally and throughout the USA, with artworks in many private and public collections, such as the MIT Museum, the Museum of Holography, New York City. The Museum of Fine Arts, Santa Fe, NM, University of Nottingham, England, The Intercommunications Center, Tokyo, Japan, and The Sharjah Arts Museum, United Arab Emirates. She has given numerous lectures on her projects including Arts Catalyst, London, England, involving a panel of artists working with climate change, and ISEA 2012: Machine Wilderness, involving a proposed outdoor site project that would address ‘some form’ of alternatively generated energy. Many grants and awards have supported her work with several from the Shearwater Foundation, a Pilchuck Glass School Artist in Residence (PAiR), and a fellowship with an MIT material scientist, Dr. Markus Buehler. She earned an MFA from Transart Institute, Plymouth University, Plymouth, England.