Chemistry Chair Uses Science to Create Art for Local Artist, New York City Gallery Exhibition

Office of Communications | May 22, 2015
Chair and Professor of Chemistry Robert Carter shows off a bent bow.

Chair and Professor of Chemistry Robert Carter shows off a bent bow.
Image by: Christian Arthur

Robert Carter Teams with Local Artist Todd Pavlisko to Create Bent Violin Bows

Chair and Professor of Chemistry Robert Carter is a landscape painter in his spare time, so suffice it to say, he was intrigued when UMass Boston student Ryan Parker Kelly, working for local artist Todd Pavlisko, approached him with a problem Pavlisko was looking to solve with chemistry.

For his exhibition I Love You, which ends its run at the Robert Miller Gallery in New York City on Saturday, May 30, Pavlisko wanted to contort hand-carved violin bows using ammonia. It took a few tries and an unexpected supply from a closet at a lutherie school (a school for makers and repairers of stringed instruments) in Boston to get it right.

Carter, Kelly, and Pavlisko have already begun experimenting for future shows.

Carter showed UMass Boston Today how he did it in this video.

About UMass Boston
Celebrating its 50th anniversary, the University of Massachusetts Boston is deeply rooted in the city's history, yet poised to address the challenges of the future. Recognized for innovative research, metropolitan Boston’s public university offers its diverse student population both an intimate learning environment and the rich experience of a great American city. UMass Boston’s 11 colleges and graduate schools serve nearly 17,000 students while engaging local and global constituents through academic programs, research centers, and public service. To learn more, visit

Tags: art , chemistry , robert carter

Comment on this story

Comments (0)