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Drawings Seduce with Illusion of Spontaneity
by Alan Artner
April 7, 2006
"Hunter O'Reilly teaches in the biology department at Loyola University. But she teaches a course in which students create art in a biology lab, which is where she produced some of her own work on view at the Loyola University Museum of Art.
O'Reilly calls these pieces "living drawings," and that is accurate enough, for she made them with bioluminescent bacteria, which she then photographed . Such bacteria emit light as they live off nutrients in Petri dishes. They glow for two weeks, gradually becoming dimmer as nutrients are used up. The changes they undergo are reflected in the drawings they "collaborated" to create.
In each instance, O'Reilly drew Japanese characters and various pictographs in clusters of 10 to 11 Petri dishes. ... At first, she presents single bright photographic images, then diptyphs in which the light of the second panel is about to go out. Eventually she traces the entire life span in multiple panels."
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