Ashley Zelinskie solo exhibition “Unfolding the Universe” opening reception
On Thursday, October 6th, ONX Studio in partnership with The Onassis Foundation, NEW INC, and Mozilla Hubs, is pleased to present “Unfolding the Universe: First Light.” This is a solo exhibition of work by conceptual artist Ashley Zelinskie, curated by Maggie Masetti in cooperation with the James Webb Space Telescope team of scientists and engineers. Opening night we are joined by special guests Knicole Colon and Conor Nixon from NASA Goddard.
Vallejo Gantner, ONX’s Director of Creative Partnerships said, “ONX is honored to host Ashley’s sculptural and immersive video works, which come to us after her years in cooperation with NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope team. ONX is a studio searching out and exploring new forms of artistic expression, finding inspiration from the unknown. As a product of the most exciting leap forward in our capacity to understand the universe in decades, this exhibition is a perfect expression of that quest.”
The exhibition features Zelinskie’s first VR artwork “Unfolding the Universe: A NASA Webb VR Experience”. She worked in collaboration with the virtual architecture-focused Metaxu Studio and created the stunning point cloud environment to host her animated sculpture and interactive portraiture of Webb team members. This work was created to commemorate the launch of Webb in December 2021 and has since been updated to include new elements reflecting the telescope’s “First Images” data released on July 12th.
“Unfolding the Universe: First Light” will also feature sculpture and installation inspired by Webb’s first images and created with the guidance of expert scientists in the corresponding fields. The work will reflect everything from exoplanet spectroscopy and infrared image processing to Webb’s signature six-pointed stars.
Ashley Zelinskie said, “The output of the Webb telescope is already awe-inspiring. It’s a huge artistic challenge to make beautiful work out of photos and data that are already beautiful in their own right. To me, the work must add to, and try to transcend, already extraordinary scientific work, inviting a viewer to tap into something universal in both a scientific and artistic sense.”
Zelinskie has been working with NASA for seven years on various projects and artworks, including works for the ongoing Osiris-Rex Mission and collaboration with retired astronaut Mike Massimino on his Hubble mission. Her work with the James Webb Space Telescope team has led to artworks shown at the NASA visitor centers and internationally at art galleries.
“To have artists translate science and technology into something people can connect with is so important,” said Curator Maggie Masetti. "As a science communicator for the James Webb Space Telescope, it’s my job to share the wonder of what we are building and learning with the public. Art can make math, science, and technology accessible, and Ashley’s work both interpret technical concepts and incorporates elements of science into the art itself.
“Exploration,” a piece created by Zelinskie for the JWST Art + Science exhibit at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in 2017—and now coming to ONX—used scans of the arms of scientists (as well as her own) reaching for the cosmos, all delicately rendered in the equations that describe relativity and telescopes.
Zelinskie’s understanding and passion for science, along with her traditional and hi-tech skills, put her in a unique position to make such art. This has led to collaborations with other institutes such as the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and a growing reputation as a ‘scientific translator,’ able to convey scientific concepts not only accurately but beautifully.
About Ashley Zelinskie
Ashley Zelinskie is a Brooklyn-based conceptual artist utilizing a post-New Media approach, wherein the media employed are merely vehicles in service of underlying concepts, she is attempting the process of translating our vast history into an eternal and universal language while focusing a lens on our place as a small part of a larger whole. Her works span a variety of media, from large- and small-scale sculpture to canvas and print works, each created using cutting-edge technology such as 3D printing, computer-guided laser cutting, and satellite plating technology. Her work focuses on visualizing data in abstract forms and finding new and interesting ways to describe complex ideas.
Ashley’s work has been featured in Vice, Brooklyn Magazine, The New York Times, and Hyperallergic. Her work forms part of the permanent collection of the US Department of State Art in Embassies Program and has been exhibited at Sotheby’s New York, and most recently the ArtScience Museum in Singapore. Ashley is a former resident of New Inc.—the New Museum’s Art and Technology Incubator—and the Shapeways x Museum of Art and Design’s “Out of Hand” exhibition residency. She is the director of The Active Space studios and gallery in Bushwick, Brooklyn, a founding member of the Lady Tech Guild—collective supporting women in STEAM—and a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design.
About ONX Studio
ONX is both an extension of Onassis Athens’ Digital and Innovation Program and a structure that supports New York and the international digital and artistic ecosystem. ONX exists as a hybrid production and exhibition space for XR artists—artists working to extend reality, not just in extended reality. ONX acts as a hub within a dynamic global ecosystem of new practices and ideas—supporting the development, execution, and mobility of new work in the digital arena. In particular, ONX acts as an active bridge between NYC and Athens in the area of digital and XR practice. ONX focuses on supporting the work of artists, and their trajectories—with production support, presentation opportunity, and promotion in NYC and globally.
Opening night special guests Knicole Colon and Dr. Conor Nixon
Dr. Conor Nixon (NASA Goddard)
Associate Laboratory Chief, Planetary Systems Laboratory
Dr. Conor Nixon is a research scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. His research specializes in the investigation of planetary atmospheres and surfaces, using data from NASA spacecraft and telescopes. He was a Co-Investigator and Deputy Principal Investigator on the groundbreaking Cassini mission, which orbited Saturn from 2004-2017. He has a particular interest in Saturn’s moon Titan, one of the "ocean worlds of the outer solar system that exhibits complex, pre-biotic chemistry and may have life in its interior ocean. Since the end of the Cassini mission, he has continued the investigation of Titan with ground-based telescopes such as ALMA and now looks forward to soon receiving new data from the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). Outside of work, he enjoys running, hiking, traveling, cooking, and music.
Dr. Knicole Colón (NASA Goddard)
JWST Deputy Project Scientist For Exoplanet Science
Dr. Knicole Colón is an Astrophysicist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD. She is the James Webb Space Telescope Deputy Project Scientist for Exoplanet Science. Colón also serves as the Project Scientist for the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) and Pandora SmallSat missions. She previously served as the Deputy Operations Project Scientist for the Hubble Space Telescope.
Her research involves the discovery and characterization of extrasolar planets (or exoplanets), which are planets that are found outside of our solar system. She uses a variety of optical and infrared telescopes to study exoplanets, including the Hubble Space Telescope, James Webb Space Telescope, and TESS. Her research focuses on studying “extreme” exoplanets that are unlike any planets in our solar system, to learn about the composition of their atmospheres and gain insight into how they formed and evolved.
More events to be announced via Eventbrite including:
- Artist talk with Ashley Zelinskie
- Tech talk ft. Mozilla Hubs, Looking Glass Factory, and Metaxu Studio
- Scientist and Engineer Lectures / Panels
- Participating Scientists and Engineers:
- Alyssa Pagan (Space Telescope Institute),
- Dr. Amber Straughn (NASA Goddard),
- Dr. Conor Nixon (NASA Goddard),
- Elaine Stewart (NASA Goddard),
- Dr. Intae Jung (NASA Goddard),
- Dr. John C Mather (NASA Goddard),
- Joseph DePasquale (Space Telescope Institute),
- Kan Yang (NASA Goddard),
- Dr. Knicole Colón (NASA Goddard),
- Krystal Puga (Northrop Grumman),
- Larkin Carey (Ball Aerospace),
- Dr. Naomi Rowe-Gurney (NASA Goddard),
- Paul Geithner (NASA Goddard),
- Dr. Sarah Kendrew (European Space Agency)
Time: 6:00 PM — 9:00 PM EDT