BiographyVivian Florig Torrence was born in Chicago Heights, Illinois. She received a B.S. in Education from Eastern Illinois University in 1967 and in 1978 earned an M.F.A. in painting from Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa. For the next several years she taught and lectured at both Drake University and Iowa State University. In 1987 she moved to California where she served a year as visiting professor at the University of California in Berkeley. In 1988 she was a visiting lecturer at the College of San Mateo (California). In 1922, she moved to Munich, Germany.
Much of Torrence’s work is in lithography and collage. She has been widely exhibited in solo, invitational and juried competitions, and examples of her work can be found in several collections, including The Art Institute of Chicago, the Des Moines Art Center, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington D.C., the University of Iowa Museum of Art, and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation in Menlo Park, California. Torrence is the recipient of numerous grants and awards, including a Djerassi Foundation Fellowship to serve as artist-in-residence, Woodside, California.
She is probably best known for her collaboration with chemist Roald Hoffmann on a series of images and essays called Chemistry Imagined. Their work began in 1989 with a grant from the National Science Foundation and Cornell University. This work continued through 1993, when the Smithsonian Institution Press first published the results of their work in the book, Chemistry Imagined: Reflections on Science. In 1996 Chemistry Imagined received a Scientific American Young Readers Book Award. Numerous articles have been published in art and scientific journals, as well as the popular press, about the collaboration, and the book has been reviewed in publications ranging from Chemical Heritage and Publisher’s Weekly to the Chronicle of Higher Education. In 1990 an exhibit of Chemistry Imagined began a four year tour of multiple locations in the United States and Germany. Venues included Indiana, Purdue and Cornell Universities; the National Academy of Sciences in Washington D.C.; the National Institute of Health in Bethesda, MD; Deutsches Museum in München, Germany; and IBM Corporation in Stuttgart, Germany. Nearly all of the exhibits were accompanied by guest lectures by Torrence. The show was brought out of retirement in 2001 for an exhibit at Luther College. Vivian Torrence and Roald Hoffmann both spoke at Luther that same year.
There is one piece by Vivian Torrence in the Luther College Fine Arts Collection. Legend is a black and white lithograph created in 1985 as a commission from the University of Iowa Museum of Art for their Patron Print Program and subsequently donated to the Luther College Fine Arts Collection.
Source of Biography
Hoffmann, Roald and Vivian Torrance. Chemistry Imagined: Reflections on Science. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1993; www.torrence.de/resume