May 4–July 20, 2007
Laura Splan, “Sympathetic Coordination”
Renee Prisble Una, “Biological Cartography”
Free, public reception for the artists: Friday, May 4, from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m.
Splan and Una utilize the inherent qualities of their respective materials and processes to make viewers physically aware of—and emotionally ambivalent toward—their own bodies.
|Laura Splan, Bone Plates #1|
“Sympathetic Coordination” features digital prints of surgical implants and instruments, such as artificial hearts, encircled by delicate capillary filaments that Splan has drawn in her own blood, as if trying to literally incorporate these foreign objects. However, by extracting blood from her body and using it as ink, she in turn alienates this intimate substance, suggesting that the boundaries between the body and the external world are perhaps too permeable for comfort. She says, “I try to create work that evokes a dichotomous experience with formal imagery that, upon closer inspection, reveals some uncomfortable truth about our cultural and biological conditions. It is important to me that the work be reflexive and self-contained—that not only the form of an object reveals meaning, but also the materials and process by which it was made.”
Appropriately enough, medical technology runs in the blood for Splan; both her father and her sister work for surgical implant manufacturers. A resident of Brooklyn, New York, Splan recently showed her art in a solo exhibition at the New York Hall of Science, organized by Art-Science Collaborations, Inc. A catalog of her work will be available for purchase during the opening reception and throughout the course of the exhibition. For more information about Splan and her work, visit www.laurasplan.com.
|Renee Prisble Una, Culture|
“Biological Cartography” comprises site-specific sculpture and installation work that Una created through a process of experimentation similar to that of a scientist in a lab. Based on the hypothesis that buildings resemble bodies, Una contrasts the organic materials in her Petri dishes, including latex, beeswax, and gelatin, with the conventional results of architectural and anatomical experiments: maps and charts. That the experience of having an individual body in a specific place cannot be fully reconciled with, or isolated from, these abstract diagrams unsettles viewers by reminding them of their dual existence as both a subject and an object. Una says, “An organic process of experimentation and discovery has led to the materials and systems in this exhibition. The place and the body are forever intertwined; their boundaries are obscured by mutual experience.”
This installation continues the investigation Una began in “Somatic Building,” her MFA thesis exhibit at Alfred University in New York. Now living in Chicago, Una recently participated in the Chicago Prayer Wheel Project, and her work will appear in an upcoming exhibition at the Polish Museum of America. More information about Una and her work is available at: www.una-love.com/renee-info.html.
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.
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.