Olbrich Home Rooted and Growing

Zoethica: Bioinspired Art and Science

Zoethica header image

Olbrich Botanical Gardens will host a free, public exhibition of over twenty art installations as part of Zoethica: Bioinspired Art and Science, a unique, interdisciplinary residency with innovative artist Peter Krsko.

The residency, presented by the UW-Madison Arts Institute, provides UW undergraduates with an opportunity to create original artwork and engage in bioinspired problem solving by harnessing structures, systems, and materials found in the natural world. By fusing techniques and approaches from both the arts and the sciences, Krsko and his students create imaginative pieces that inspire, challenge, and inform our relationship with the world around us.

More information on specific installations and the student artists coming soon!

Gallery night opening

Friday, May 5, 2017

Zoethica will open on Friday, May 5, as part of MMoCA's Gallery Night from 5 p.m. - 9 p.m.; visibility of the installations may be limited after 8:30 p.m.

exhibition Viewing

May 5 - August 6

8 a.m. - 8 p.m. daily

The exhibition will be viewable during the outdoor gardens' regular hours. Outdoor garden admission is free; donations encouraged.

Artist in residence - peter krsko

Peter Krsko portraitIn 2006, while working on a Ph.D. in Biophysics and Materials Science, Krsko discovered a way to use a traditional scanning electron microscope as a focused electron beam lithography instrument, enabling him to create artwork viewable only with a microscope.

After receiving his degree, Krsko was awarded a fellowship at the National Institutes of Health, where his interests expanded into medically-relevant biological communities, bacterial biofilms, bioinspired materials, colors and vision and the combination of science and art in order to develop unique lesson plans for young students. He continues providing educational services to schools, summer camps, after-school programs and correctional facilities today.

Krsko also creates collaborative and community public art, such as sculptures and murals, inspired by biological concepts of diversity, differentiation, participation and co-ownership. His sculptural installations mimic the structure and form of natural entities as well as the dynamics and laws of interactions among members of the ecosystems. This work has been presented in numerous galleries, festivals and publications.

Guest artists


Katie Schofield crochet sculpturesKatie Schofield

Katie Schofield combines traditional crocheting techniques with new material and hyperbolic geometries. The resulting sculptures share many similarities with sea coral, especially the large surface area to volume ratio. The corals, as organisms residing on the sea bottom, intake nutrients by filtering their environment. The more water they can filter through their bodies, the more nutrients they obtain.

Schofield explores unique ways to maximize the surface area of her pieces by group assemblies of hyperbolic shapes. Working with Schofield, the students will stretch their mathematical imagination literally into new dimensions.


Dan Steinhilber artworkDan Steinhilber

Dan Steinhilber is a sculptor, whose original approach to utilizing new sculptural material has been widely noted. His recent research and development in areas of robotics and mechanical systems is inspired by soft body organisms, such as jellyfish or unicellular organisms. His artwork explores very similar approaches in order to reach new
definitions of shape and volume, whether static or dynamic.

Besides transforming two-dimensional shapes into three-dimensional objects, the students, through Steinhilber's lessons, will also get a chance to investigate fluid mechanics, pressure gradients and how a system in equilibrium results in a mechanical movement.


All photos courtesy of the respective artists.


Summer Concert Series | Tuesdays, June 19 - August 14

Home Garden Tour | July 13 & 14

Member Preview: Blooming Butterflies | July 18

Blooming Butterflies | July 19 - August 12

Guided Garden Strolls | Sundays, May 6 - Oct. 14

Olbrich Botanical Gardens is operated as a public-private partnership between the City of Madison Parks Division and the Olbrich Botanical Society.
Olbrich Botanical Gardens | 3330 Atwood Avenue, Madison, WI 53704. | Phone: (608)246-4550 | Fax: (608)246-4719