invisible visibility

biochemistry, viral and physics portraits

"In the 1980s, many of our friends and artists were dying of AIDS. We felt compelled to visualize our confusion and sorrow, and it seemed logical to visualize the AIDS virus and combine the sculpture with metaphorical symbols to express our feelings.  Based on available data that was 85% accurate at the time, a computer rendering of the AIDS virus was juxtaposed with a CT scan of a real patient named Messiah who died of the disease.  The emotional, scientific, and artistic success of our work with visualizing AIDS inspired us to continue working with scientists. Some of the exceptional scientists were T. J. O’Donnell, as well as Arthur Olson and David Goodsell from The Scripps Research Institute.  Feature Gallery, directed by the late Hudson, first showed these pieces in Chicago and then in Soho, New York.  He was a true champion of the work. Never before had a gallery shown scientific content like the AIDS virus.”  

"The images have a certain polish, a scientific sleekness, and seem to radiate out into the viewers' space. It is difficult not to like what you see before you. But then you find out what is pictured, that it is an image of the AIDS virus, and the contrast between beauty and the horror of the plague confounds you."

-Robert Duffy, "Getting The Message: Knowledge Distilled”, St. Louis Post Dispatch, September 19, 1993

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(art)n's recent work re-represents in an art context, images originally produced as scientific visualizations. These images might therefore be likened to the Dadaists' ready-mades-objects intended for practical uses suddenly transported into a context laden with other expectations. While it might be tempting to dismiss such images as non-art, their positioning in a gallery context refocuses our attention on their aesthetic and expressive potential. The hypnotical visual appeal of some images, such as HIV Reconstruction, is immediately undermined by the horror of its subject."

-George S. Roland 

Curator, Bowman, Penelec & Megahan Galleries, Allegheny College 1992

© 2020  (art)n