I make my art because I wish to explore the beauty and complexity of the cellular world using the power of scientific discovery and methodology. My cell photographs signify the great chasm that exists between what is known and unknown. We understand how to grow certain types of cells in a dish, like neurons, but do not yet know how we can use this power to solve problems of disease. Using living cells, I grow cellular landscapes and then use small molecules with fluorescent tags to reveal the inner architecture of the cells, captured by fluorescent microscopy and digital photography.
Patterns are ubiquitous in nature from the macro to the micro. Cells are patterned internally and then laid down in layers that in turn pattern tissues, organs and the body. During metamorphosis, all of the cells in the body of a caterpillar are reorganized and re-patterned as the great change creates a butterfly. Humans are poised at the precipice of a metamorphosis powered by biological understanding. Our knowledge has yet to transcend our inability to cure many diseases, but the promise of our growing awareness inspires hope and awe. In ‘Patterns and Metamorphosis” I present transparent cell photographs mounted on chrysalis shaped structures illuminated from inside and hung inside the boughs of a chestnut tree as lanterns that represent this beautiful, inspiring and fearful moment when all is possible, but exactly what will emerge is unknown.
Special thanks to Dr. Derek van der Kooy, Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research, University of Toronto.