Genomes and Daily Observations

2004-Present     All drawings are 11″ x 14″ mixed media on paper

Genomes and Daily Observations (Katydid)

Genomes and Daily Observations (Katydid)

Genomes and Daily Observations  (Moths)

Genomes and Daily Observations (Moths)

Genomes and Daily Observations (Fence Lizard)

Genomes and Daily Observations (Fence Lizard)

Genomes and Daily Observations (Red-bellied Woodpecker)

Genomes and Daily Observations (Red-bellied Woodpecker)

Genomes and Daily Observations (Spotted Salamander)

Genomes and Daily Observations (Spotted Salamander)

Genomes and Daily Observations (Blue Jay)

Genomes and Daily Observations (Blue Jay)

Genomes and Daily Observations (Squirrel)

Genomes and Daily Observations (Squirrel)

Genomes and Daily Observations (Bald-faced Hornet)

Genomes and Daily Observations (Bald-faced Hornet)

Genomes and Daily Observations (Young Starling)

Genomes and Daily Observations (Young Starling)

Genomes and Daily Observations (Beetle)

Genomes and Daily Observations (Beetle)

Genomes and Daily Observations (Wren)

Genomes and Daily Observations (Wren)

Genomes and Daily Observations (Snapping Turtle)

Genomes and Daily Observations (Snapping Turtle)

Genomes and Daily Observations (Bluegill)

Genomes and Daily Observations (Bluegill)

Genomes and Daily Observations (Cicadas)

Genomes and Daily Observations (Cicadas)

Genomes and Daily Observations (Wood Thrush)

Genomes and Daily Observations (Wood Thrush)

Genomes and Daily Observations (Box Turtle)

Genomes and Daily Observations (Box Turtle)

Genomes and Daily Observations (Screech Owl)

Genomes and Daily Observations (Screech Owl)

Genomes and Daily Observations (Dragonfly)

Genomes and Daily Observations (Dragonfly)

One day while painting a stag beetle, I caught myself doodling some chromosomes in the suggestive stains on the surrounding paper; it fascinated me that while eye-to-eye with a creature I was conscious of invisible genetic codes coiling in its cells. It was as if I’d merged an old artist-naturalist’s sensibility with a contemporary awareness of genetics, and this was the beginning of Genomes and Daily Observations, a series of works on paper. Along with the creatures, somewhere in each drawing the DNA double helix, chromosomes, cellular organelles, or an A-T-G-C genomic sequence emerge. To enhance the concept of this work for the viewer, I present it as an installation, with a grid of drawings, an old artist-naturalist’s desk piled with specimens and sketches, and a mirror imprinted with a section of the human genome (a sequence from the lens of the human eye). My hope is that the work suggests questions, such as: How has knowledge of genetics altered our perception of the natural world? How do we reconcile personal reverence for life with scientific information? And does the mapping of the genome unravel mysteries or create more?

view

Installation view

 

LK5A0562 good

Naturalist’s Desk

LK5A0557 fair

Grid of Drawings

LK5A0555 good

Mirror with Genomic Sequence

 

The capacity to blunder slightly is the real marvel of DNA. Without this special attribute, we would still be anaerobic bacteria and there would be no music. 

 – Lewis Thomas, author of Lives of the Cells

 The sacredness of both life and art does not have to mean something cosmic or otherworldly—it emerges quite naturally when we cultivate compassionate, responsive modes of relating the world and to each other.

 – Suzi Gablik from The Reenchantment of Art

The great difficulty of my whole career as a painter is that why I love most . . . not only holds little interest for most people, but in many of its phases is downright disagreeable . . .

 – Charles Burchfield, from his journals