Emeritus professor’s art exhibit pays homage to the heavens

Donald Bendel

The science and charm of Lowell Observatory merge into art in a new ceramic exhibit by NAU Regent’s Professor Emeritus Donald Bendel.

Bendel’s “Impressions of Space” art show will be on display in Lowell Observatory’s Rotunda Museum from Nov. 4 through 30. The show features seven ceramic pieces inspired by Bendel’s feelings and interpretations of Hubble Space Telescope images of the universe.

Bendel has incorporated these interpretations into a wall hanging format he originally used in a 1969 art series based on car hubcaps, including one titled, Percival Lowell Romancing the Dream.

To create the piece, Bendel studied Percival Lowell’s research telescope, the Clark 24-inch refractor, and then took rubbings of the 1954 Ford truck tires that support the Lowell Observatory telescope dome and incorporated these rubbings into the final product. It also features numerous quotes by Percival Lowell along with interpretations of some of Lowell’s drawings and details such as the hubcap’s Ford logo.

Bendel taught art at NAU from 1970 until his retirement in 2000.

Bendel will discuss and unveil his work in the Rotunda during Flagstaff Night at Lowell Observatory at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 4. The evening will include a presentation by Jeff Hall, the associate director for the observatory, who will discuss current research activities. In addition, docent and retired scientist/lecturer Klaus Brasch will present “Life in the Solar System.” Doors open at 5:30 p.m.

Telescopes throughout the grounds will be open for viewing celestial objects such as Jupiter (weather permitting).

Flagstaff participants are admitted for half price Flagstaff Night at Lowell Observatory.