I recently graduated from Duke University with a degree I designed called Evolutionary Neuroaesthetics. My love for natural science and the arts drove me to question how our physical realities define how we derive meaning and beauty from our world. I'm interested in how in sound, vision, and movement give rise to aesthetic forms of expression and communication, like music, visual art, and dance. Basically, I make a lot of art about science.
The first image shown here is a piece I was commissioned to do for my alma mater, which hangs in one of the campus dormitories. It captures the basic components of life at the cellular level, in order from bottom left: fat (adipose) tissue, red blood cells (erythrocytes), bone tissue (osteocytes), neurons, and muscle cells (stretched). Acrylic, 110x146 cm.
This is a piece I did as part of a series depicting pathology - it was showcased with the complete series in the Duke University Brodhead Student Center in a solo exhibition.
Description: Schizophrenia is a mental disorder characterized by failure to recognize what is real and what is not. Though we don’t know much about it, some research on schizophrenia has become focused on the hippocampus and the limbic system at large. Postmortem studies on the brains of schizophrenic patients and controls show a striking difference in the organization of pyramidal neurons in the hippocampus, a structure deep in center of the brain involved with emotion and consolidation of memories, depicted here. In a neurotypical brain, the pyramidal neurons are directionally oriented and, in the hippocampus of schizophrenics, the arrangement of these cells is more chaotic and disorganized. The idea is that this kind of disordered neurogenesis might be a contributing factor to the disorder, meaning schizophrenics, quite literally, make different connections on the neural level. This piece is an interpretation of this, and is accompanied by two figures, one that shows the location of the neurons in the brain, and the second that shows two slides of the area in a normal and schizophrenic brain - the difference is quite profound.
This is another piece on Smoker's Lung/Emphysema - also part of my acrylic series on pathology.
Description: Alveoli are tiny sacs, packed tightly together in the lungs, facilitating air flow. The basic histologic patterns and clinical presentation of smoker’s lung includes: the paralysis of the cilia (which transport trapped particles out of the lungs through mucus) causing the build up of carcinogens, and the degradation and loss of elasticity of the alveolar walls (emphysema) causing a stretched appearance and making for less efficient gas exchange, and, therefore breathing problems. Here, the painting shows the progression of compact, healthy alveoli to stretched out and blacked by carbon trapped in the tissue.
The images below are more acrylic pieces from this series - melanoma, chronic stress, epilepsy, and the data or figures that inspired them.