SPLICE: At the Intersection of Art & Medicine @ UTAC

December 11, 2012 § Leave a comment

The University of Toronto Art Centre and Blackwood Gallery at the University of Toronto Mississauga co-present SPLICE: At the Intersection of Art and Medicine, a show that brings together works that explore ideas and representations of the human body from both artistic and scientific perspectives. This exhibit reminds us that disciplines and ideas that we normally separate need not be segregated from one another – they may actually be interdependent.

The exhibit showcases traditional anatomical illustrations that we often expect to see in textbooks or in doctors’ offices, but rarely under spotlights on the walls of a gallery. Curator Nina Czegledy brings to light these beautiful and masterfully rendered diagrams that not only required a thorough scientific understanding of the body to create, but also vast artistic skill. We often dismiss these works as mere educational diagrams and underestimate the time, talent and effort that went into their creation (especially when technological advances have provided us with the ability to render almost anything we desire with unimaginable accuracy). It is only under the context of a gallery setting that we as an audience come to realize and appreciate all the blood, sweat and tears that produced these meticulously detailed works; they deserve a closer look and a deeper appreciation for their fine craftsmanship.

SPLICE also touches on the history of Biomedical Communications (formerly the Department of Medical Art Service) at the University of Toronto, highlighting and recognizing the work of a group of women that were vital to the development of the program, as well as the creation of the first anatomical atlas produced and published in North America (initiated by Dr. J.C.B. Grant of the University of Toronto in 1941). Maria Wishart, Eila Hopper-Ross, Nancy Joy, Dorothy Foster Chubb, Elizabeth Blackstock and Marguerite Drummond were rarely credited in the various editions of Grant’s Atlas (which is still in print today). Yet together, they created works that represent an important legacy in the field.

Contemporary artworks are also featured in SPLICE, creating a complementary yet challenging dialogue with the traditionally formal illustrations. In these works, the body takes on immensely different meanings. As Czegledy notes in her introductory essay “The Body Revealed” in the brochure accompanying the exhibit, “Today the body is frequently politicized, symbolized, and even digitized in order to manipulate, to dissect and provoke.” Artists such as Orshi Drozdik, Catherine Richards, Piotr Wyrzkowski, Diana Burgoyne and many others push the body beyond the boundaries of medicine into various other territories where it takes on boundless connotations and associations. These works invite the viewer to think about what the body has become to us; they challenge us to re-evaluate preconceived notions and encourage us to think about the body in ways we have never considered.

SPLICE: At the Intersection of Art and Science runs until December 1, 2012. Go interact with a glass heart, find out what the mind is and appreciate some amazing artwork! Make sure to check out the SPLICE exhibit at the Blackwood Gallery of UTM as well, also running until December 1.

-Olivia Tang

03ChubbAnatomical Drawing

Left: Dorothy Foster Chubb, Head (Detail), carbon dust, 1942-1945.

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