Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Conversations with a Scientist

This is a representation of a scientific slide that my dear scientist friend gave me. The painting is based on her very interesting study of Kaposi's Sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) - a cancer causing herpes virus. She experiments through adding and substracting of receptors to see how the virus gets into cells. The goal is to have a better understanding of transmitting the disease and eventually a vaccine.

This painting also represents a really interesting on-going dialogue about human inquiry and curiosity, about how scientists chip away at ideas and pass information along, and how this is all done in the interest of improving the world and our lives.

The starting point on this painting came from a quick comment Laura made that completely and perfectly summed up what I think human inquiry and science are all about - her phrase was "If I've learned anything so far, and that's a big IF..." I loved the humility and awareness this PhD candidate had in describing what she does. She's quite intelligent, but she also knows that there is so much to learn in our vast, complex, constantly evolving and changing world. So, I started with a literal big IF painted in black. I used impasto technique to lay colors on the canvas (the colors respresenting DNA, the virus, and receptors).

With certain paintings, it is my goal to tell stories that I think should be told. Having a particular story of a really interesting person who is doing something really worthwhile and impressive live subtly in the paint is my focus for these kinds of paintings. Laura was the first in hopefully more paintings like this that are based on meaningful and enriching conversations.

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