Friday, 12 September 2014

A Big Stick of Confidence

The human nose can detect a trillion different odours, some of which will be featured at A Big Stick of Confidence, a scent-based installation by Canadian artist Clara Ursitti at the University City Science Center’s Esther Klein Gallery at 3600 Market Street in Philadelphia. The exhibit, which is jointly presented by the Science Center and the Monell Chemical Senses Center, will run September 4 – October 18, 2014.

Ursitti is intentionally mysterious about the exhibit. She prefers that gallery goers experience A Big Stick of Confidence without pre-conceived notions about the exhibit. “It’s like a psychology experiment,” she explains. “You wouldn’t tell the volunteer subject what is going to happen to them before they go into the experiment as it colors their experience and ruins the experiment!”

A Big Stick of Confidence responds to the unique space of the Esther Klein Gallery, and is informed by the time Ursitti spent over the past year at the Monell Center, where she worked with world-renowned olfactory scientists Pamela Dalton and George Preti. Ursitti has been working with scent since the early 1990’s, and is recognized as a pioneer in the area, creating pungent installations and interventions. She is interested in non-verbal (chemical) communication, the non-visual senses, speculative fiction and memory. Her work often incorporates situation and context.

Ursitti has exhibited widely internationally and has been the recipient of numerous awards including IASPIS (International Artist Studio Programme in Sweden); Scottish Arts Council Award; Wellcome Sci-Art Grant; Helen Chadwick Fellowship at the British School at Rome and the Ruskin School, University of Oxford. She is presently the recipient of a Canada Council Long Term Artist Grant, and was included in the survey exhibition Generation: 25 Years of Contemporary Art in Scotland. She is currently based in Glasgow, Scotland where she is a lecturer at Glasgow School of Art. For more information about Clara Ursitti, visit

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