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In a departure, the new OMSI exhibition is an artistic approach to science - rather than just the science

DAVID F. ASHTON - At the new OMSI exhibit Exquisite Creatures, its featured artist, Christopher Marley, stands next on one of favorite works - one he named Deference. Southeast Portland's Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) on October 5th opened a new exhibit, featuring the work of artist, naturalist, and author Christopher Marley. It's called "Exquisite Creatures", and it's in the main exhibition hall.

Marley's unique artistic arrangements reveal the obscure beauty in nature, through his three-dimensional work with animal, mineral, and plant specimens.

"On display is a nexus of the three major elements of the human experience," said Marley as the exhibit was about to open. "There's an 'in-between place' where a lot of 'magic' happens which helps people begin to see the natural world in a different light.

DAVID F. ASHTON - At the new OMSI exhibition Exquisite Creatures, real reclaimed shellfish are mounted to form a work of art. "There are a lot of urbane people who don't consider themselves nature buffs; I present the natural world in particular way that kind of draws people in and reaches them emotionally," Marley told THE BEE.

"What I hope people take away from this exhibit is that, as we interact with the natural world in real time, and in three dimensions – it's a completely different experience than in two dimensions," Marley said. "I'm hoping to rekindle interactions with the physical world."

The exhibit's local manager, OMSI educator Jennifer Powers, remarked, "Because OMSI's mission is to inspire curiosity and inspire science learning, after they see Marley's exhibit here, hopefully people will be inspired to study or learn something new in nature.

"In conjunction with this fascinating exhibit, our staff has created a space called 'Nature Lab', in which guests can have the sort of hands-on experience they've come to expect from OMSI," Powers explained.

In this new area, visitors can make their own arrangements, by moving magnet-mounted play insects and bugs to create their own "creature art". There is a microscope where guests can explore insects and arthropods up close. And, there are clear plastic cases, in which folks can closely view live arthropods: Millipedes, a walking stick, and scorpions.

"Exquisite Creatures" is on view at OMSI through next February 17th; admission to the exhibition is included with General Admission to the museum.

OMSI is situated under the Marquam Bridge on the east bank of the Willamette River, at 1945 S.E. Water Avenue, just north of the Ross Island Bridge. Learn more online –

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