May 1 – July 17, 2009
Sandi Chaplin, “What Grows?”
Ron Bell, “Crania Mechanica”
Free, public reception: Friday, May 1, from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m.
These exhibitions contrast two traditional conceptions of human anatomy: the body as an extension of the natural world and the body as machine.
Sandi Chaplin, What Grows?
“What Grows?,” Chicago artist Sandi Chaplin’s installation, consists of artificial limbs joined with actual tree branches and grape vine roots, centering on a full-size mannequin with a window in its chest exposing a wooden heart and the tree branches that constitute its circulatory system. The installation juxtaposes man-made and natural materials to investigate the common metaphor of the heart as the seat of emotion and love, questioning the connection frequently drawn between emotional and physical pain. Chaplin received her MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts from Chicago’s Columbia College, where she now teaches in the Film and Video Production Department, and she has exhibited and performed at such Chicago arts venues as Glass Curtain Gallery and the Around the Coyote festival.
|Ron Bell, Martes Pennanti|
“Crania Mechanica” features sculptures that suburban Wilmette resident Ron Bell constructed by combining actual animal bones with found and hand-fabricated industrial machine parts, transforming the gallery into a mad scientist’s laboratory. Bell’s work is inspired by the 18th-century experiments of Luigi Galvani, who introduced an electrical spark to the exposed muscle tissue of a severed frog leg and noted that the leg twitched. Galvani’s experiment led to the discovery of bioelectricity, the electrical current transmitted by the nerves to stimulate muscle motion and control heartbeat. Bell has worked for over 25 years in cinematography, a craft that combines art and science in equal measure, and has previously exhibited his sculptures only at Packer Schopf Gallery in Chicago, by whom he is represented. For information about the artist and the gallery, see www.packergallery.com.
These exhibitions are the latest in the Museum’s “Anatomy in the Gallery” series, which has showcased medically themed contemporary art in quarterly paired exhibitions since 1998. The Museum exhibits this artwork along with thousands of historical artifacts from its permanent collection, including surgical instruments as well as a number of paintings, drawings, and sculptures, in accordance with its mission: to enrich the lives of its visitors by enhancing their appreciation and understanding of medicine. To learn more about “Anatomy in the Gallery,” please visit the program’s MySpace page.
This project is partially sponsored by a CityArts Program 2 grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.