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'View from Under the Microscope:' A new exhibit at Richland Library

A Columbia artist’s fascination with science is the basis of a new traveling exhibit at Richland Library. Alicia Leeke took images of microscopic specimens and made them into abstract art for a series of 18 digital works called “View from Under the Microscope.”

“I was always interested in microbes. I don’t know why,” said Leeke, who will be giving a talk about the exhibit on Tuesday at the library. Her interest in specimens that can’t be seen with the naked eye led her to a year-long partnership with Dr. Tammi Richardson from the University of South Carolina's Department of Biological Sciences. Together they collected phytoplankton from Darrell Creek in Mount Pleasant and Quinine Hill Lake in Columbia. Phytoplankton, or microalgae, are tiny marine plants that provide food for a wide range of sea creatures. They also play an important role in climate change, Leeke said.

She used her microscope slides to create colorful digital abstractions, which were then printed and mounted.

“I wanted to make it fun and vibrant,” she said. “I think it brings attention to it for people who might not otherwise be interested” in phytoplankton.

The talk will be 6:30 - 8 p.m. Tuesday at Richland Library, 1431 Assembly St.

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