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 The process is very similar to darkroom photography only the enlarger has been replaced by a radiation source and instead of photographic paper this process uses a petri dish coated with a living bacterial emulsion."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

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