Ben Lincoln works on a painting in his studio. Lincoln will speak at the next Art Meets Science Café on July 18. PHOTO COURTESY OF MDI BIOLOGICAL LABORATORY

Painter to speak about sight, subject

BAR HARBOR — The relationship between sight and subject will be the topic of a talk entitled “Bearing Witness” by Mount Desert Island painter Ben Lincoln at an Art Meets Science Café to be held at the MDI Biological Laboratory’s Kinne Library on Monday, July 18, at 5 p.m.

Lincoln, who works in a studio in Pretty Marsh once used by his father to build handmade wooden boats, is known for a series of oil paintings inspired by sailboats and the wind, which he views as a metaphor symbolizing “our continuing attempts to harness and ultimately find a balance with the forces of the natural world.”

The natural world – and the science that explains it – always has informed Lincoln’s work. Since before he began his art education at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston in 1989, scientific subjects such as medical illustrations, quantum mechanics, string theory and genetics have exerted a strong influence on his imagery.

In his presentation, Lincoln will ask “What does it mean to observe?” He will present images representing different models of observation and explore the scientific, artistic and philosophical relationships between sight and subject. In particular, he will discuss how science has revealed this to be a complex relationship.

“Relativity, quantum mechanics and more recently, string theory, present a complicated picture,” he said. “Space and time are curved, particles can pop in and out of existence, the simple act of observation alters the behavior of particles, and we may inhabit only one of a potentially infinite number of parallel universes.”

Lincoln’s paintings are part of the laboratory’s 2016 Art Meets Science exhibit. The paintings on exhibit will include a Cape May warbler, an example of the direct observation of nature; a hurricane-chasing airplane, an example of using observational tools; and an allegorical work, an example of observing the inner self.

Lincoln’s works have been exhibited in numerous solo and group exhibitions, including in past Art Meets Science exhibits at the MDI Biological Laboratory, and are included in private and corporate collections around the world.

Attendees of the July 18 Art Meets Science Café will have the opportunity to view the Art Meets Science exhibit starting at 4:15 p.m. on the day of the café. The exhibit includes observations by artists on nature, from the stunning scenery of Acadia to the microscopic world of molecular biology.

Art Meets Science Cafés are free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be available.

The Art Meets Science Cafés are offered by the MDI Biological Laboratory in fulfillment of its mission to increase public engagement with science. The cafés follow the format of the popular MDI Science Cafés, also offered through the laboratory, in which short presentations are followed by lively, informal discussion.

The next Art Meets Science Café will be held on Monday, Aug. 1. The speaker will be art historian Linda Seidel, whose subject will be “Bodies in Nature: Shadows and Reflections in 15th Century Painting.” Visit

The MDI Biological Laboratory, located in Bar Harbor, is an independent, nonprofit biomedical research institution focused on increasing healthy lifespan and increasing our natural ability to repair and regenerate tissues damaged by injury or disease. The institution develops solutions to complex human health problems through research, education and ventures that transform discoveries into cures. Visit

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