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Aesthetic engineering

Ginny Ruffner interprets science through glass sculpture

Jonathan Scheff
If you could take a tour through the corridors of artist Ginny Ruffner's brain, you would surely meet painters such as Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dalí. But you'd also meet scientists such as Galileo Galilei, Jacques-Yves Cousteau, and Marie Curie. Somewhere, in the dark, unmappable regions of her brain, Ruffner translates these manifold influences -- which emerge from her scientific curiosity and her fascination with beauty -- into creations all her own.Originally a painter, Ruffner began working with glass in 1977 and has continued to the present day, incorporating metal and other media. Her sculptures are part science and part fantasy. With titles like "Chrysanthemum Carp" and "Sunflower Evolution," they take scientific concepts such as evolution or entities such as DNA and recreate them in a world of Ruffner's imagining. In "The Sensual Bouquet of DNA," for example, one can find a spiral reminiscent of the standard double helix,...

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