Graduation Art Piece: Oral Microflora

As some of you may or may not know I have just graduated with a BFA. Below are some photos of my Graduation piece.

In my practice, I am fascinated with the world of microbial life which is un-viewable to the naked eye. These images are referencing of paintings during the enlightenment era, where scientists are peering in the human body to study how it worked. My prints work in a similar fashion to these enlightenment paintings. The viewers are peering into the small world of microbial life, something that is a mystery to most people. In this way this imagery is a reflection of my own curiosity with microbial life and the pursuit of knowledge, both in relationship with each other and within the human body. According to The Invisible Kingdom by Idan Ben-Barak, The “number of microbes per square centimetre of human skin: upwards of 100,000” this number is exactly why I am so fascinated with cellular life. The fact that there are more than 100,000 microbes on a square centimetre of human skin without anyone entirely being conscious about it is both terrifying and exhilarating.

I want to present this world to the viewer because this tiny unseen world has a grotesque beauty about it. It is both disturbing, not only in the sense that there are so many microbes on you and everything around you but also because there is a creepy crawly aspect to them. People are uncomfortable with the fact that germs exist and that we can’t see them and on a subconscious level we all know they are there, we use soap and antibiotic everything to try and get rid of them. Despite our best efforts however these microbes are thriving and there isn’t much we can do about it. When people see these prints I hope they cringe and get a little creeped out in a creepy crawly way but I also hope they become fascinated with how beautiful they are as well.

I am also trying to work outside of the traditional boundaries of print; in my work, print is sculptural. I want to activate the paper both through physical touch and through colour. My prints consist of multiple images that move fluidly across a space. The prints, although still technically 2-dimensional have a sculptural quality to them, both in the imagery and in the way they are presented. The imagery is of geometric shapes that are representative of biology, blue prints, and design. This is because I’m interested in systems and structures and I use small repetitious shapes, much like tiny insignificant cells that build up to create a human being. To give the prints more definition I have hung them away from the wall; this gives an impression of a more sculptural installation as well as allows the viewer to have an interactive experience.

I am working with the idea of multiples that is present within printmaking, but instead of creating identical images and numbering them in an edition I am cutting up the images and putting them on the wall as an installation. This connects my work to multiples within the cellular world, and the overwhelming amount of microscopic life. Buckminister Fuller, who was an architect, once said: “99% of what you are is invisible and untouchable.” This has influenced my work because these prints comment on how the human body is influenced by small invisible elements that are often forgettable and unseen by the naked eye. Through multiplication I intend to create awe about how many of these small seemingly insignificant cells there actually are.

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One response to “Graduation Art Piece: Oral Microflora

  1. All petty scrutiny and scepticism aside, this is an interesting matter and motive to undertake. I hope it wins you high praises and that you will pursue this topic absolutely.

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