Experimentation with inverted layers, negative space, digital image and painted all merged together becomes confusing and complex yet binds together into individual aesthetic artworks with many elements to look at. The screen is filled with shapes and colours that continuously morph into one another, flowing from one stage of image-making to the next; it presents a sense of different stages and layers building upon the last discovering new angles, colours and aesthetics.
SECRET STRUCTURES AND WHAT THEY DO WHEN WE ARE NOT LOOKING
Eleanor has used film and dance to find similarities and make connections between the research into the structures of the proteins the SGC study, and ageold healing methods such as shamanism and beliefs around witchcraft. The movements of the dancer and ribbons replicate the structure of a protein and how the amino acids work together to create incredibly complex shapes. By using the human body as a medium it makes these microscopic structures more accessible and engaging to the audience while maintaining the links with shamanism and early medicine practices.
What happens to us when we lose our memories? Alex's practice delves into the psyche of dementia, considering how memory is tied to the environment through exploring themes of ephemerality in memory. Focusing on her painting process, she introduces materials into her paintings, emulating a scientific approach to her artwork. Using stories of dementia patients to understand what memories occur, she begins incorporating these into artworks, which reflect upon the nature of the disease, and the importance of remembering.
Katie’s oil paintings explore unexpected connections in nature. The microscopic proteins studied by the SGC have evolved from the proteins from which life began, and life relies on them now. Suspended in solution under the microscope these building blocks of life look like planets or moons, reminding us how small human life is compared to the size of the universe. Neither protein molecules, nor the cosmos, exist in our realm. They are inaccessible to us. Neither can be seen with the naked eye; and for both, there is still much to investigate and understand. In her work Katie explores the connection between the parallel universes of proteins and the cosmos, challenging the viewer to think about proteins and the work of the SGC in a new way.
In her current practice, Tilly explores the idea of memories and bringing those recollections back to life using her chosen medium of video. In this collaboration with the SGC, she has deeply investigated Alzheimer’s, a disease that the SGC are currently studying and more specifically she has looked at its effects on sight. In this piece Tilly has explores the devastating ramifications of Alzheimer’s, showing a compassionate and emotional understanding for people living with this illness. Thus, her research has given her a new, immense appreciation for everyone working to stop this disease.
Sara’s work is focused on the potential long-term impact of nanoplastics being introduced to our systems and the damage that they might cause once they’ve built up to a substantial level within our bodies and cells. Sara has been using plastics in a paradoxical manner to highlight this issue, also drawing on the more general environmental issue of our own pollution in using plastics. In collaborating with the SGC, the hope is that Sara’s piece might draw attention to the potential need in the future to find medical solutions to the internal damage we don’t yet know we’ve created.
Lucy’s work considers the fear, both rational and irrational, that Western society experiences regarding pathogens and contamination, as well as the obsessive rituals of cleansing and purification which many of us exercise. Experts in the fields of science and medicine work tirelessly to try to solve major problems and maintain global health and stability, but threats such as infectious disease epidemics are real and remain a constant source of concern. Through visions of apocalypse, Lucy’s work confronts this increasing state of tension, and the uncertainty surrounding what our future holds. On a personal level, Lucy has addressed her own preoccupation with contaminants and the way in which she manifests her tendency towards obsessive-compulsive behaviour. This self-analysis, which imitates and parallels scientific method, produces a metaphorical narrative within an isolated but also allegorical domestic setting.
Within Chloe’s work she explores type 1 Diabetes and the role it plays in her mother’s life, who has been living with it since she was diagnosed when she was three. Diabetes can be overlooked at times as it isn’t an obvious physical illness and diabetics will suffer in silence. Knowing this Chloe wanted to investigate every inch of her mother’s story. Growing up is difficult enough but adding a lifelong illness into the mix doesn’t make for the easiest of childhoods. Rebellion began in her mother’s adolescence and now the trauma follows her into her adult years. Diabetes is a constant roller coaster and Chloe’s work explores that up and down relationship that her mother shares with her illness.
In this piece, Leanne has investigated the underlying relationships between objects, DNA and family. This work is inspired by the close bonds and family atmosphere the SGC’s co-workers share with each other. She has utilized this information to create a piece that shows connections in her personal life, with her immediate family and the bond of the SGC. These links were originally going to be shown in the dust and debris of sentimental objects. Instead, she has made her own cherished object. The teddy bear uses her and her family’s shared DNA. It’s stuffed with her, her mother and her sister’s hair and their make-up residue on the bear’s “skin”.
Shannon’s practice explores the community of the SGC and how they collaborate with groups around the world. Shannon demonstrates the collaboration of these groups through a disembodied spoken word performance and a textile installation. The language of the scientists has been a strong influence on her work, reconstructing found text to deliver a recognition of the positive partnerships around the world that the SGC holds. Abstracting the normality of dialect in conversation, she outlines the importance of communication and the connection of people in everyday life. The use of vocabulary forces a demand to be read/ heard and understood but, is this demand necessary? Or, can we value the simplicity of humans uniting their knowledge and time as one?
Niam’s oil paintings explore the protein structures themselves, envisioning them through an anthropomorphised lens. Looking at an abstract form through the human concepts of movement, body structure and so on, helps bridge the gap of understanding of scientific concepts.
Ivy’s work usually explores the human body with special focus on our most used tools - our faces, hands and eyes, for example. Collaborating with the SGC has given her the opportunity to experiment and explore not only with the outer shell of our bodies, but also with what lies beneath the skin. This artwork displayed represents our inner proteins; cells that work constantly in our bodies to keep us functioning. Proteins are complex and important molecules that play a critical part in our bodies, structuring and regulating our tissues and organs, essential for all living organisms. Most of us never consider what is going on under and inside our layers of skin and the strange, almost alien beauty it beholds.
Harry’s gestural paintings explore the process of X-ray crystallography which determines the atomic and molecular structure of a crystal. Crystal structures can be seen as an array of lines and shapes but by transforming them into a different form, through the use of colour, allows the audience to interpret them in their own way. Harrys process enables movement around the canvas when applying selected mediums, to create a way of exploring the grid structures of crystals and the crystallography process used by the scientists at the SGC.
Ady’s paintings are abstract representations of atoms that make up proteins, derived from the compositional structures of ribbon diagrams (a scientific way of representing atoms). He uses the effects of colour and paint to create an immersive experience. The piece is a symbol of our relationship with the minute components that make up our minds and bodies.
Megan’s artwork explores Alzheimer’s and the effects it can have on an individual. More specifically, Megan has worked closely with organisations and even closer with Eric Brian Philips. Eric, also known as Brian, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in September 2015. Throughout conversations Megan has sustained information that Brian has shared and has transferred this into an artwork that best represents him in an abstract form. Interested in the way that Brian recognises himself, Megan also asked Brian to draw a self-portrait. “Nothing ordinary” is a phrase that Brian often repeated, and time is something we are subconsciously unaware of.
Elsie’s abstract practice explores brain tumours. She seeks to raise awareness of the illness through her Nan’s own personal experience, understanding the symptoms and signs but also the lasting effects it can have on the person, especially her Nan. Elsie depicts the system and growth of the tumour through her drawings and sculptures. She represents the connection between her Nan and herself, through the investigation of her Nan’s past trauma, which happened before she was born. This allowed them to ground a deeper bond through the conversations they have exchanged. Elsie is translating her knowledge of the experience in her practice, leaving the spectator with a better understanding of brain tumours
Taylor’s artworks explore the symptoms and effects of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). Focussing on the progressive nature of this illness, Taylor portrays deterioration and disorientation within her work. Drawing from research and personal interactions from people living with AD, Taylor attempts to depict the sensation of time fading and the loss of the self through her artworks. Alzheimer’s is a physical disease that causes proteins to build up in the brain and form abnormal structures called ‘tangles’. This results in the loss of connection between nerve cells which then leads to memory loss. Taylor’s artworks are in effort to portray this inexplicable notion of gradually losing the self and the effects of this.
Wasting Away is a stop motion video that explores the visual aesthetic of being ill. We all have felt unwell many times in our life, this video shows the progression of someone becoming increasingly ill. The rapid incline in health illustrates the general mood declining by showing how our physical bodies when they fail us it affects our mood. For more terminal illnesses and even when we just get a cold, our identities change. The way we view ourselves shifts, we acknowledge the fact that we take for granted our healthy self. This is what I try to achieve in this stop motion. This brings to light the work that SGC does by looking at the reality of what illness can physically do to a person. Highlighting the importance of their research to defeat the diseases they are trying to understand, raising awareness for their research.
Kennedy’s work is the exploration of an autoimmune disease called ‘Cold Urticaria’ that she has suffered with for over 10 years. Cold Urticaria is an allergic reaction to the cold. She has created fluid paint artworks that resemble the decay of cells due to the autoimmunity. Her work has been inspired by the microscopic views of the allergy. Kennedy explores the meaning behind autoimmune diseases by using paint and colour to create a visual representation.
Lily’s paintings are visualisations of the repetitive trial and error nature of the scientific process, reflected in the physical making of the pieces and their composition. The layers of scientific paraphernalia aim to provoke a dialogue between the objects, as well as enabling a discussion surrounding the precise exploration of biological developments.
Zu's paintings explore the human aspect of a laboratory environment and give an insight into four SGC employees' work and experience through portraits of their journey around their workplace. Through this, Zu is emphasising the importance of human presence and knowledge in the initial stage of research and development of medicine which can sometimes be overshadowed by a successful outcome and create a rather distorted, machine-like view of the individuals involved, taking away the human aspect of trial and error which is an essential characteristic of the SGC scientists. The paintings focus on precise and measured representation of mapping each journey, which required research, measurement and attention to detail making it a similar process to that of developing medicine. This allowed Zu to further appreciate and understand the involvement of the human factor in SGC's industry.
Yasmin’s acrylic paintings show a representation of Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia (CML) cells. These have been created through various processes, such as acrylic pouring, to portray how a mutation may form in the stem cells of our bodies. CML is caused by a genetic mutation in the stem cells produced by the bone marrow. This mutation causes these stem cells to produce too many underdeveloped white blood cells, which also leads to a reduction in the number of red blood cells. Yasmin's artworks portray this creatively through paint whilst also raising awareness of CML and highlighting the devastating effects that the disease has on individuals.