the amazing universe of the cell

Cell GardenThe living cell is one of the most awesome places imaginable, filled with thousands of different chemicals bustling about inside and in between various containers. My painting, "Cell Garden," was inspired by the various structures within the cell that are the containers: the flattened sacs of the Golgi complexes that act as packaging centers for molecules synthesized within the cell; the endoplasmic reticulum where amino acids are assembled into proteins; and spherical vesicles that remove waste products.

My fantastical cell is represented as a floating garden, filled with containers of varying shapes and sizes. Some are containers for hanging plants that bear gourds from the human-scale world, which themselves are containers of seeds; others are like tiny flower pots; another container is a seed that contain the material for a whole new organism.  Like my painting, Membranes #1, Cell Garden is not a scientific illustration; it is a poetic representation of  the overflowing energy of life that manifests in the structured yet constantly changing world of each cell.

To see a more accurate (although equally surreal) picture of the workings of the cell, be sure to watch my favorite computer-generated animation, The Inner Life of the Cell, created by Harvard University and XVIVO, The Inner Life of the Cella scientific animation company whose Medical Director and Partner, David Bolinsky, is one of my heroes.  Molecular A Portal to Cell & Molecular Animation is a great place to find the "crème de la crème" of computer-generated animations of the workings of the cell, like those of Drew Berry, a 2010 MacArthur Fellow. His work represents, for me, one of the most successful examples of the fusion of art and science.