Both artists and scientists are researchers. Scientists ask questions about what they see in the world. They collect data from their observations to find answers. Artists conduct research through the materials they use in order to create their work.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR AN ARTIST TO CONDUCT RESEARCH?
Very simply, when mixing blue and red, what color emerges? Purple...right? That is the basic investigation of a painter. As they spend time mixing paints they continue their research. They investigate texture, image, line and shape. An artist is in conversation with materials as they work. The image created is their answer.
Images take different forms. Abstraction, surrealism, folk art, realism, op art, color field painting, etc. The investigation continues. What is real? Is an image describing a house, a tree, a dog or something that is recognizable more truthful than an abstract image describing ones experience without recognizable shapes? The forms the images take are a result of the painter's research.
Artists and scientists both conduct research. Darwin wanted to know about evolution, Madame Curie wanted to know about radiation. Both artists and scientists are seeking deeper understandings of the world in which we live through their work.