SciArt Magazine - All Issues - Page 13

Q: Having studied mainly art and art history during your formal education, how did you come to develop an interest in science, and specifically the sciences of the body, as a subject matter? A: What is so amazing  about being an artist is that you experience the world  through a different lens, and it can lead you places you never would have gotten to otherwise. It is still surprising to me — and I think, to most of my family — that I make the art that I do. I have no scientific background (other than the fact that I am the daughter of a nurse), and still get a bit faint at the sight of my own blood. My interest in the body grew out of an interest in memory and how we are profoundly influenced by our interactions with others, carrying those experiences with us, like smells, sounds, touches, etc. It wasn’t until years later when a friend recommended a book to me that would actually confirm this idea of “body memory,” called “Faith, Madness, and Spontaneous Human Combustion” by Gerald Callahan. He says: A: No, it was absolutely an intentional choice.  When I began to focus on the human body and for a time, the skin, as my subject matter,  it was important that the choice of material and the subject matter relate to one another. So the  first set of paintings I made that involved the body were done  on  vellum, because it yielded a result reminiscent of a microscopic slide. And then it struck me that I could sew into the vellum, treating the surface of the painting more like skin. Conceptually, the fact that embroidery would create an orderly surface with a messy underbelly - just as human skin acts as a clean surface that contains within it all the blood and guts of the body - made sense to me.  So I began to sew into my paintings.  Q: Did you have a previous affinity for embroidery unrel FVBF