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The Fusion of Art and Science

Seminars Given by Hunter O'Reilly

Dr. Hunter O'Reilly, Ph.D.
Photo Credit: Brian Bednarek

Panel Discussion, Montserrat College of Art, Montserrat Gallery, Beverly, MA, March 16, 2007.
Artreach Lecture Series, Montserrat College of Art, Montserrat Gallery, Beverly, MA, March 16, 2007.
Aglow in the Dark: Art/Science and Bioluminescene, American Museum of Natural History, New York, NY, January 25, 2007

Tri-Beta, Biological Honor Society Lambda Omega Chapter, Loyola University Chicago, Chicago, IL, January 22, 2007.
Loyola University Museum of Art, Chicago, IL, April 2, 2006
Chicago Area Undergraduate Research Symposium Keynote Address, Chicago, IL, April 1, 2006
Chicago-Kent College of Law, Chicago, IL, March 7, 2006
Dialogue Between Science and Art Workshop, Hluboka, Czech Republic, July 2005
Honors College at Oakland University, Rochester, MI, March 21, 2005
University of Alabama School of Public Health, Birmingham, AL, February 20, 2004
Dialogue Between Science and Art Workshop, Hluboka, Czech Republic, July 16, 2003
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI, January 31, 2003
University of Michigan Genetics Department, Ann Arbor, MI, September 23, 2002
University of Michigan School of Art and Design, Ann Arbor, MI, September 20, 2002
Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design (MIAD), Milwaukee, WI, April 24, 2002
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, MA, March 13, 2002
University of Wisconsin-Parkside, Kenosha, WI, February 15, 2002
Walker's Point Center for the Arts, Milwaukee, WI, May 5, 2001

With biotechnology becoming a greater part of our daily lives, there seems to be a movement in the art world to integrate art and science. Dr. O'Reilly discusses the unusual results of integration of art and science in contemporary art such as

-Microvenus icon encoded into DNA by Joe Davis

-A living green glowing bunny by Eduardo Kac

-A room size installation simulating the human digestive system by Wim Delvoye

-Preserved animals in formaldehyde as art by Damien Hirst

-Plastinated human specimens by Dr. Gunther von Hagens

-Installations featuring DNA, genes and chromosomes as cultural icons by Susan Anker

-The Radioactive Biohazard exhibit by Dr. Hunter O'Reilly

-Biology Through Art course created by Dr. Hunter O'Reilly

Dr. Hunter O’Reilly is the both an internationally recognized artist and also experienced geneticist. She reinterprets science as art through abstractions, digital art and installations. She holds a Ph.D. and Masters degree in Genetics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and her artwork has been shown in New York, San Francisco, England, Italy and Japan.

Joe Davis, the notorious artist-in-residence at MIT, was the first artist to use DNA as an artistic medium. He synthesized DNA encoding the Microvenus icon and tranformed that DNA into living bacteria.

Dr. Gunther von Hagens, an artist and medical doctor, has plastinated over 200 real human specimens presenting them in exhibitions as art and for scientific study.

Eduardo Kac, an artist and professor at the Art Institute of Chicago, has genetically engineered a living green glowing bunny where both the rabbit and the social debate surrounding the rabbit are parts of the artwork.

Wim Delvoye created a room sized installation costing $200,000 simulating the human digestive system that eats food and creates something similar to human feces. A signed piece of excrement costs $1000.

Dr. O'Reilly will also discuss her own work in a nationally traveling exhibit reinterpreting science as art called Radioactive Biohazard. In Radioactive Biohazard, Dr. O'Reilly presents actual laboratory bench artistically enhanced, actual lab cell images displayed and modified as art, preserved genetic mutations from a genetics laboratory, and oil paintings confronting topics such as human cloning.

At the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, Dr. O'Reilly pioneered a new class, Biology Through Art, where students have the opportunity to create innovative artworks in a biology laboratory. She has also taught the class at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Currently she teaches the course at Loyola University Chicago. Dr. O'Reilly has taught Biology Through Art to a diverse group of students majoring in art, biology, psychology, among others. Students used unusual artistic media such as DNA, blood and microorganisms. Dr. O'Reilly will also present the exciting results of this innovative class.

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