ALEXANDRA Carr is exhibiting a mesmerising installation of optical prisms, illuminated with lights in constant flux, at York St Mary's as part of the York Festival of Ideas.

Her Weight Of Light show is inspired by experiments and theories of light by Isaac Newton and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, as she seeks to "illustrate the elusive nature of understanding and the bringing together of complex ideas into a unified whole".

International multi-media artist Alexandra works collaboratively with experts, such as engineers, chemists and theoretical physicists, and focuses on the boundary between art and science.

"Newton and Goethe both experienced the same phenomena through a different lens, coming to different conclusions," she says. "Through the interplay of colour, light and dark, I comment on how aspects of both theories are correct and that there is truth in every perspective."

Supported by Arts Council England, this free exhibition at York St Mary's, in Castlegate, also features video, sculptures and drawings and is open from 10am to 4pm daily until Sunday, June 16.

The exhibition is linked to the Festival Focus Day on the theme of The Poetry and Music of Science on June 16, from 11am to 5pm, at Tempest Anderson Hall, Yorkshire Museum.

Artists, including Alexandra, will be joined by scientists, conductors, writers and musicians to explore the interfaces between science, literature, art, astronomy, poetry, music and mathematics.

Supported by the John Templeton Foundation, the day of talks is inspired by The Poetry Of Music And Science, a new book by the University of York’s first professor of natural philosophy, Tom McLeish.

Tom and Alexandra have worked together before, notably on a project with medieval scholars and scientists, inspiring art with scientific ideas from the 13th century. One example of Alexandra’s art from this project features on the book's front cover.

Both the book and focus day point to the common territory between science and the arts and challenge the assumption that science is less creative than art.

Alongside Tom, other expert speakers at the free day of talks will include Joanna Norman, director of the V&A Research Institute; astrophysicist Carlos Frenk, of Durham University; scientist Stuart Firestein, of Columbia University, USA; Renaissance literature expert Claire Preston, of Queen Mary University of London; conductor Ben Glassberg, musician and composer Anna Phoebe and University of York music technology expert Helena Daffern.

The three talks will be The Art of Visual Imagination, from 11am to 12.45pm; The Entanglements of Science and Literature, 1.45pm to 3.15pm, and Wordless and Pictureless Forms of Mathematics and Music, 3.30pm to 5pm.

Tom says: “Both Alexandra’s inspiring exhibition and the Festival Focus Day aim to break the silence on the deep creativity and imagination required in science, and the connections between science and art.

"We invite people to come along and join in the discussion as we look at the connections between visual thinking in painting and science, the common ground between the art of the novel and scientific experimentation, and the links between abstract structures in music and mathematics."

The 2019 York Festival of Ideas is presenting more than 200, mostly free, events under the banner of A World Of Wonder with the aim to educate, entertain and inspire. The festival assembles world-class speakers, exhibitions, theatre, music, films, guided walks, family-friendly activities and more besides. Full details can be found at

Other Festival Focus Days will explore issues such as toleration, poverty and how to deliver a fair economy for all. Audiences can engage with in-depth discussions on the value of higher education to society, and the ability of artificial intelligence to improve lives. Anyone attending can come along to one event or stay for the whole day.

Meanwhile, more of Alexandra Carr's work is on show in the 2019 Aesthetica Art Prize exhibition at York Art Gallery until July 14.

Charles Hutchinson