For the Brief Encounters artist residency Stevens collaborated with Dr. Jonathan Nichols, a Space Scientist at The University of Leicester to learn about his research into the aurora of Jupiter and Saturn.
The residency was an ideal opportunity for a scientist and artist to exchange ideas and methods for gathering, processing and interpreting information with a view to bring to life research and to produce a creative response as part of an exhibition during National Science Week. The group exhibition displayed the artworks between February – March 2018 at Newarke Houses Museum in Leicester.
Both Nichols and Stevens are fascinated with the natural environment through exploring their connection and close relationship with it. Whilst gathering data and using equations as a tool to learn more about the solar system, Jonathan also admires the stunning imagery of auroras and planets and was excited to work with an artist to share this story.
Stevens has produced two monotype prints that demonstrate an abstract landscape inspired by Europa, the smallest of four Galilean moons orbiting Jupiter. The imagery demonstrates the complexity of Europa’s surface; with a particular focus on the intricate pattern of linear fractures, domes and series of streaks crisscrossing the entire globe caused by the tidal flexing exerted by Jupiter. These features have been interpreted using a combination of contemporary printmaking and drawing techniques to produce marks by layering printing ink, Indian ink, chalk, pencil and pen as if viewing Europa’s surface from under a microscope.
Due to the smoothness of the surface and evidence of water vapour plumes detected by The Hubble Space Telescope, it is believed that a water ocean exists beneath the surface of Europa which could harbour extra-terrestrial life.