Monday, August 19, 2013

Art in a Petri Dish

I don't think it's uncommon for microbiologists to see the beauty (as well as occassionally the horror) of various organisms growing in their petri dishes. This has inspired some to turn to art-making. Artists who appreciate the aethetics of grown cultures are also apt to turn the contents of petri dishes into art.

Petri dishes painted by Klari Reis

Artist Klari Reis made an installation of paintings on petri dishes, using reflective epoxy polymer to "depict electron microscope images of natural and unnatural cellular reactions". You can find 358 of them on this blog from 2009, and a further daily painting for every day this year on The Daily Dish 2013.

Klari Reis

Zachary Copfer, Serratiasaurus, 2012, Serratia marcescens

Star Stuff, Galaxies of genetically modified bioluminescent E.Coli by Zachary Copfer
Zachary Copfer, a microbiologist who went back to university to get a Masters in photography,  makes art in petri dishes too. Art at the place where photography meets genetic modification and microbiology. He "invented a new medium that combines photographic process with microbiological practices. The process is very similar to darkroom photography only the enlarger has been replaced by a radiation source and instead of photographic paper this process uses a petri dish coated with a living bacterial emulsion." What he calls "Bateriography" involves growing bacteria into photographs. He's made a series of portraits of artists and scientists. The final artworks are dead bacteria preserved in resin. Watch a portrait of Einstein grow below:

Laura Katherine McMillan. Size: 9 pieces, 5.5”x 5.5” Medium: Machine and Hand Embroidery 
in Petri Dishes Year Made: 2010 Cell Series
Laura Katherine McMillan wanted to combine her background in anatomy and kineseology with ther love of textile art. Studying her old textbooks she found beauty and, "began to see the cells as a series of intricate textures and shapes. "

Michele Banks (also known as artologica), Petri Dishes 1 original watercolour collage
Michele Banks (also known as artologica), Yellow Petri Dishes Silk Scarf

Michele Banks (also known as artologica), Petri Dish Ornament K6

Artist and science blogger Michele Banks (artologica on Etsy) makes watercolour portraits of petri dishes, which she also turns into wearable art like the silk scarf and ornaments in actual petri dishes. Textile artist Elin Thomas (ELINart on Etsy) has made a series of 'Mouldy wall art' pieces, mimicking petri dishes. Ceramicist/microbiologist Peggy Muddles The Vexed Muddler has a series of wearable clay pendants depicting petri dishes. You can find other petri dish inspired handmade goodies on Etsy too.

Elin Thomas, Mouldy Wall Art, crochet, embroidery, black linen

Elin Thomas, Mini Mouldy Wall Art No. 4, linen, crochet cotton
Peggy Muddles of The Vexed Muddler, Pale bacterial culture plate clay pendant necklace

Peggy Muddles of The Vexed Muddler, Little blood agar culture plate clay pendant necklace

This is the most direct means of making the art of the petri dish that I've found:

Magical Contamination by Antoine Bridier-Nahmias
Magical Contamination by Antoine Bridier-Nahmias
Antoine Bridier-Nahmias is actually growing specimen, mainly fungi but also bacteria and yeasts as art (via art hound)... or perhaps the photographs of his experiments are the art. Either way this is clearly the most literal interpretation of art based on the beauty to be found in a petri dish.

Magical Contamination by Antoine Bridier-Nahmias

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Textile Anatomy

Where textile art meets human anatomy!

Shannell Papp, Lab (skeleton), detail
Shannell Papp, Lab (skeleton)

Canadian artist Shannell Papp created Lab (skeleton), a complete, full-scale crocheted model of the human skeleton and organs. She writes, "I was pretty serious about making a very exacting replica of the human body. There are parts of the work that nobody sees–the brain has gray and white matter, the bones have marrow, the stomach has half digested food in it. I made it to understand my body better and I think this is why people like it," in  this interview. She has also made other textile works, whether crochet or embroidered, about human anatomy.

Shannell Papp, Bonebook (detail)

Shannel Papp, Bonebook and Blood Pools
Another Canadian artist was working on knitted and embroidered works about human anatomy in the late 90s. Sarah Maloney made these beautiful embroideries and knitted sculptural and multimedia works.

Sarah Maloney,
Knitted Arms, Shoe Forms, Gloves, 1997,
variable dimensions, multimedia, Photo: Ned Pratt
Sarah Maloney, Brain, Knitted cotton, stainless steel armature
35.6 x 35.6 x 152.4 cm
1988-1989, Photo: Paul Litherland

Sarah Maloney, Skeletal System,
Embroidered cotton on silk
305 x 112cm
1998-99, Photo: Geoffrey Gammon
Sarah Maloney,
Vertebrae, Sacrum, Coccyx,
Knitted cotton, stainless steel armature
36x 36 x 189 cm,
1998-99, Photo: Geoffrey Gammon
Sarah Maloney,
Circulatory System
Embroidered cotton on silk
305 x 112cm,
1998-99, Photo: Geoffrey Gammon
Similarly, LA-based artist Ben Cuevas has produced a knit skeleton and various organs and blood vessels.
Ben Cuevas, knit skeleton

Ben Cuevas,
Knit Veins: Fiber of Our Being
Some fibre artists are creating anatomical works about anatomy on an entirely different scale. Consider the 'macro' work of New Mexico-based artist Betty Busby. (Do, check out her portfolio. I'm in love with her dinosaur skull quilts).

Betty Busby, Neurotic 36x42

Betty Busby, Purkinje 37x44"

Betty Busby, Retia 60x45
 The neurons might be something most can identify in 'Neurotic'. Likewise, Purkinje refers to a class of neurons located in the cerebellum. 'Retia mirabilia' are a complex of arteries and veins lying very close to each other, found in some vertebrates. Purkin


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