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Press Release for Living Drawings Exhibition

High Resolution Images for the Media for the Living Drawings Exhibition

Exhibit Web Site: www.LivingDrawings.com

“Living Drawings” is an exhibition of recent works by Chicago artist Hunter O'Reilly on view at LUMA – Loyola University Museum of Art, March 12 through June 4, 2006. LUMA is located at 820 North Michigan Avenue / Chicago, IL 60611. The artist, whose background combines both science and art, has assembled a series of photos of living bacterial drawings created on seaweed nutrient agar in petri dishes, along with works on paper and digital photography collages.

The bioluminescent bacteria create its’ own light via expression of the lux genes. Hunter O’Reilly creates controlled line drawings using bioluminescent bacteria. The bacteria then grow in the host environment. Bacteria become collaborators in the art as it grows. First appearing with bright light, bacteria in the drawing are photographed as it uses up available nutrients, gradually dying-off over a two-week period.

The artist takes advantage of the bacteria growing to equal brightness along the entire line drawing. Regions where most of the bacterial growth occurs die the fastest because there are limited nutrient resources in the seaweed nutrient agar. The seaweed nutrient agar holding limited resources serves as an analogy for how we use resources within individuals, families, communities, and the world. As the bacteria die the drawing changes and slowly fades into complete darkness.

Also included in this exhibition are recent works on paper drawn spontaneously while listening to scientific seminars. These spontaneous drawings include notes and symbolism used playfully by the artist to create full, sometimes surreal, well-worked compositions most often completed in a one-hour period. These drawings reflect relationships between intellect and environment. The artist approaches the expression of ideas through blending art and science as a source for new perspectives, understanding, and ultimately new meaning about each discipline. “Living Drawings,” interprets science as art.

An internationally shown artist and experienced geneticist, Hunter O'Reilly reinterprets science as art through abstractions, digital art and installations. O’Reilly’s art has been on the cover of thirteen scientific journals such as Nature Biotechnology (July 2005), Nature Genetics (April 2004) and Nature Review Genetics (September 2001, August 2001 and January 2001). O’Reilly has created a course, Biology through Art , where students have the opportunity to create innovative artworks in a biology laboratory. Dr. O’Reilly is teaching this course at Loyola University Chicago in the Spring 2006 semester. She holds a Ph.D. and Master’s degree in Genetics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a Bachelor of Science from the University of California-Berkeley. Dr. O’Reilly also teaches Biology and Genetics at Loyola University Chicago.


Interpreting Science as Art: Bioart and Living Drawings
Gallery Talk by Hunter O’Reilly
Sunday, April 2, 3-4pm at the LUMA Auditorium

Hunter O’Reilly will discuss interpreting science as art through the creation of living artworks, abstractions, digital art and installations confronting issues related to biotechnology in our culture. O'Reilly teaches at Loyola University Chicago.

Spontaneous Drawing Guided by Hunter O’Reilly
Sunday, May 21, 2pm at LUMA

Families will be guided to draw spontaneously inspired by their own spirituality including activities such as drawing to music, drawing with your eyes closed and drawing based on themes from the microscopic world.  Living bacterial drawings will also be present to observe.

Copyright © 2005 Hunter O'Reilly