Lindsay Olson – Fermilab Artist in residence 2014-15


Art and the Quantum World

Artist statement
My artistic practice grows out of an intense curiosity about the ways our society is supported by science and technology. I use my training to create art about the hidden realities of our world. As Fermilab’s first artist-in-residence, I worked with scientists, members of the operations crew and numerous staff throughout the lab to learn the basics of high-energy physics. Creating work inspired by dedicated Fermilab scientists opened a new way for me to view reality and enriched my studio practice. Some of the work created during the residency will be traveling nationally and internationally as part of the Art@CMS project at CERN.

All images copyright Lindsay Olson. All rights reserved. More work available upon request.

All the work that Lindsay Olson created during her residence program will be on exhibit at the Fermilab Art Gallery starting September 23, 2016. Read more information about the exhibit.

Illuminated Artist Books

Medieval illuminated manuscripts inspired me to create artists’ books that express the exciting research being conducted at Fermilab and at other physics labs across the world. Ancient manuscripts were used to transmit the most important information of their day. My books illustrate the deep and fundamental connection between particle physics research and the origins of the universe.

Dark Glamour: Neutrinos I and II

Our universe is permeated with neutrinos, nearly massless neutral particles that interact rarely with other matter. These tiny particles, studied in Fermilab experiments, could be the key to a deeper understanding of our universe. In these two textile pieces, I am using the visual metaphor of nets to suggest how detectors capture images of these elusive particles. These pieces borrow techniques used in high fashion to project an image of dark glamour.

Standard Model

The Standard Model of Particle Physics is a breathtakingly successful conceptual tool we use to explain our universe. It explains how the vibrant and exciting cosmos in which we live can be explained as endless combinations of a few key building blocks, governed by a handful of principles. I was intrigued by the visual and intellectual challenge of expressing this powerful conceptual tool.


Lindsay Olson

Lindsay Olson

After a lifetime of dodging science classes, Lindsay Olson has discovered great joy in learning about science and using her training to create art about the hidden realities of our world. Whether working with Fermilab and learning about high-energy physics or discovering the realities of water management in the city of Chicago, combining the beauty of art and the elegance of science is her idea of a great adventure. She would like to express her appreciation and gratitude to the many people at Fermilab who helped her realize the art based on their world-leading research. Lindsay’s work has been shown in numerous galleries in the USA and Europe. She teaches textiles at Columbia College in Chicago.



Artist’s website

Selected press for Lindsay Olson