Leonie Connellan

Leonie Connellan
Melbourne, Australia


Leonie Connellan is a print-based artist from Melbourne, Australia. She studied
printmaking at RMIT University and completed her Master of Fine Art in 2011. Her
current work explores the relationship between the physical sciences of the universe and
how we find our place in it through storytelling, with the ultimate goal of instilling a sense
of scientific understanding, wonder and curiosity about the structure of the universe and
our place in it.

Illustrated Talk

Once Upon A Spacetime: the exploration of science and story
Leonie’s work is based on the connections between science and storytelling. On thesurface, many stories can seem superfluous and unimportant, but when we look a little deeper, we realise that the act of telling stories is a very important human trait. Her particular interest has been how we can and do use stories to help explain, remember and expand scientific theories and hypotheses.

Science itself is about curiosity in how the things around us work. Scientists begin theirexperimentation with a question or idea, then methodically work towards proving ordisproving it. Along the way, other unexpected events may occur, leading the research in a different direction. If science is about curiosity, and embracing the wonder in findingthings out, how is this different to art?While science is about finding answers, art is often about embracing ambiguity andexploring connections. While it can be useful to impose rules and possible outcomes on to art, much of its power comes from unanswered questions, whether in the mind of the artist making the work, or from the experience of the audience.As artists, we have a freedom that most practicing scientists do not have: we don’t need to be practical with our language. Despite the inroads being made in its teaching, the language of science is, by and large, careful and practical, with widespread avoidance of metaphor and adjectives for fear of misrepresentation. Artists can embrace fiction and describe how it relates to and enhances fact. We can introduce scientific ideas unexpectedly, in a different environment, to those who wouldn’t necessarily search them out. Artist’s can shine a light on science in a way that invokes delight and encourages exploration and understanding.