Cheryl Goldsleger

Cheryl Goldsleger

National Academy of Sciences Exhibition Artist Statement

My work stems from my broad interest in architectural space. Architecture, for me, is an expressive aspect of society and its needs. This truth is clearly present in the National Academy of Sciences building designed and built by architect Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue in 1924.
Since 2009, I have been conducting research in the Archives of the National Academy of Sciences. The large canvas drawings in this exhibition are an acknowledgment of Goodhue’s beautiful architectural drawings, which I was fortunate enough to use as points of departure. Delving into the other artists whose creativity contributes to the success of the NAS building, I became intrigued by the thirty-seven scientists portrayed in the relief sculptures by artist Lee Lawrie that adorn the Goodhue façade. Lawrie’s sculptures led me to general history books on natural philosophy and the sciences and underscored the reason for the institution and symbolism of the building.
In this body of work, one is invited to visually explore the intricate network of ideas that are embodied in the original NAS building. The relationship between the canvases and the sculptural model is their reflection on the character of the building and its symbolic function. Aspects of the building model allow one to see into a place where scientists have shared their ideas for almost a century. The sculptural model relates to the canvas images in that both allow one to explore the building from various vantage points and allow one to see through walls, roofs and floors. The lofty views in the canvases and the architectural sculpture echo the aspirations of centuries of scientists who build on each other’s knowledge and reach astonishing heights of new discovery.
By using information from the NAS archives, numerous other resources, and studying Goodhue’s original drawings, I have attempted to create an exhibition inspired by the Academy’s building and the science it is meant to foster. In doing so, my endeavor re-imagines the aesthetic of the Academy’s building inviting viewers to see the structure anew and to reflect on the institution.

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