It's hard to believe that almost two months have passed since the opening of the "MATTER GONE WILD" exhibition at the Southern Oregon University's Thorndike Gallery here in Ashland. For all those who could not visit the exhibition, I am posting two photographs of the paintings hung in the beautiful light-filled gallery. The opening reception was very gratifying, with many people attending and staying for a long time to look carefully at the paintings.
On March 20, Carol Ferguson, Biology Professor at SOU and the person who taught me about cell biology, brought her University Seminar class to view the exhibition and to contemplate and write about what they saw. I met the students and was impressed by the thoughfulness of their questions, not to mention their enthusiasm for the painting. For this blog journal, I am going to let the students speak about the painting Cellular Supernova. Be sure to click on the thumbnail of Cellular Supernova below to see it enlarged.
"When I think of things mysterious, certain colors come to my mind, dark colors like dark blues, purples, blacks and greens. These are colors I see in this painting. The cell is a mysterious thing to me because [even though] I have learned the function of a cell and also what makes up a cell, it blows my mind how complex something that small can be." —Valerie
"The abstract cell of the piece is reminiscent of a blurry microscope [image] which comes slowly into focus. Like a child being introduced to the majesty of the cell for the first time, we slowly recognize the mitochondria, the nucleus, the endoplasmic reticulum. Dubiner's evident love of science and aptitude for physical medium allows a truly magnificent experience to unfold before our eyes." — Josh
"Dubiner uses color, especially vivid volors, in all her pieces in a way that I have never seen another artist use. In Cell however it is unique. The colors somehow make me feel like I'm looking into a dream, while a the same time giving vibrancy and life to the cell. It seems to glow from within with life energy, and it's breathtaking. The nucleus of the cell glows like it's really alive, and this is all through the use of color. A black and white diagram of a cell could never express life the way this piece does..."—Marissa
In conclusion, I often felt that my most enthusiastic audience are and will be the high school and college students of today who have taken biology class in school. They know what the paintings refer to and are excited to see a unique interpretation of something already familiar to them. Just as the image of earthrise from the moon was the icon of the second half of the 20th century, so I believe the cell will be the iconic image of the first half of the 21st century. I cannot imagine what the image for the second half will be, but I hope it will emerge be another aspect of our beautiful living Earth.