The Art Life of Dendrites

What in the world is a dendrite?! One might ask oneself, or you may recall something from science class about nerve pathways. It turns out dendrites play a surprisingly hefty roll in art at the Ozone. Okay, so still, what is the dendrite again? According to the definition, dendrite is derived from the Greek word for tree.

‘The Path’ by Ron Zaneveld Acrylic on Canvas

‘The Path’ by Ron Zaneveld Acrylic on Canvas

We’ve got lots of trees in the Ozone (both created by artists and actual) but dendrite is specific. It refers to the branched extension of a nerve cell that picks up on electrical messages in the body, or a crystal growth with branching, tree-like structure.

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‘Still a Mystery’ by Kindra Crick Encaustic on Panel

This encaustic by Kindra Crick is fantastic in its suggestion of both the dendrites of synapse but also the tree like structure of the circulation from the heart to the brain. We find, in our bodies, dendritic structure not only in our nerves and circulation, but also in our bronchial trees, a lovely recurrent theme.

Electric Paintings by Robert West Electricity on Panel

Electric Paintings by Robert West Electricity on Panel

From the synaptic signals firing in the brain, we become moved or inspired. Robert West illustrates those electric impulses in macro cosmic size with Lichtenberg Forms or Electric Paintings. Using voltage through the panels, the fractal pattern of electricity is burned into the wood. This repeating pattern of nature, like river flows and canyons, is dendritic. It’s pleasing and somewhat ironic that he’s using trees to create the trees.

Moss Agate and Emerald by Karen Britt Moss Agate, Emerald, Fine Silver, Sterling

Moss Agate and Emerald by Karen Britt Moss Agate, Emerald, Fine Silver, Sterling

The trees get everywhere, even into stones. The introduction to dendrites for Karen Britt was from studying the mineral growths in stones such as Moss Agate. A common misconception about Moss Agate is that it is fossilized moss inside the stone. The true story is that some minerals grow their crystal structure in a tree like fashion and that’s what we see here. For more about that, check the new Dendrites section of the Gemstones page. While building that page, it became more and more evident how much dendritic growth we had throughout the Ozone. What a lovely analogy to the roots, branching out, and living properties of the art pieces and their makers in the gallery.