Saturday, April 28, 2012

dna drawings from a week in the Lab

The  week just passed was my second week in the Lab... I introduced this current residency in a long post at the Homage blog and also at the studio blog in a brief summary last week.

a new visual journal

If you wish to know why I've been drawing DNA then a visit to either blog will provide the context.

Tonight I have loaded up these black ink and watercolour drawings to give you a view of the latest work in preparation for a show on the 18th of May. Much more on all that soon!

I worked on these drawings whilst figuring out what large paintings I wanted to go ahead with. With the limited timeframe it's been a very useful process to think it through via the drawings from a series of photos Ive been taking over the past 2 weeks of graphs and other material in the Lab Journal of my collaborating Scientist Joshua Mylne. 

I've been offered demonstrations and instructions on many aspects of the work being carried out in the lab... Joshua and assistants have been incredibly obliging and thoughtful. Given I was starting with an empty slate in terms of my prior knowledge I expect to leave better informed.

This Gel slab which I photographed, about 12 x 8cm, might appear very low tech... 

but this image below gives a better idea of this stage on the process.

Scientist loading a Agarose gel for electrophoresis
image found here :  Scientist loading a Agarose gel for electrophoresis
Viewing DNA set in gel, one of the things that can be seen at the Darwin Centre of the Natural History Museum in London. Image from here

Gel electrophoresis
Short notes here if really curious: Principles of DNA Gel electrophoresis

Ive been using two journals in the past two weeks... both have been stored away waiting for a reason to be used. 

Curious how certain shapes keep drawing one in... some of these ovoid shapes turn up over and over in my work... and the Lab provides yet more opportunities for viewing patterns in nature... even if at a Micro level.

Check out other blogs for updates and I will add details about the coming Viewing of this residency work.

Click here to go to the information page at my website!


Valerianna said...

Wow, Sophie, I really love how this residency is informing your work, the books are amazing! The last drawing has a quality like Georgia O'Keefe's huge cloud painting. I've always loved those bean-ie or cloud kind of shapes. And I'm smitten with the black and red drawings - they're a bit spiraly...

ArtPropelled said...

I'm always intrigued by your journal pages Sophie. Glad you are enjoying your residency.

Blue Sky Dreaming said...

Fascinating! I love these ink markings in your journal and will go over to your other blogs to 'catch up' on your project!

Anonymous said...

i love this!

oh those close up black and white
and the shapes
and the texture of the grey areas
oh my

Sophie Munns said...

There's been some amazing imagery to work with Valerianna... possibly even more than I imagined! Its good to read your words and see that some of the enthusiasm and experimenting does translate into something that speaks beyond my desk.

I'm astounded at how willing Josh+ team are to share... contributing hugely to my learning and enjoyment of this experience. For someone who knew not what to expect I feel very rewarded and privileged to have the excellent company and good grace of these people.

The red and black ones... I must share the original photos of that subject! They are wonderful!

Thanks for coming by Robyn. Journals are a critical anchor when there is so much visual and intellectual overload ... and the best way to ascertain if I am able to process material that keeps presenting itself before me. Most enjoyable YES!

Sophie Munns said...

Thank you for your warm comments Maryanne!
Love using ink... and the journals pages were certainly the best place to start!

what fun it is to play with scale and the tonal qualities and textures... you always have an eye for detail!

Sandra Robinson said...

I am really enjoying my visits to your blog Sophie, lots of interesting things to read and lovely visuals of your work. I really like all the black and white ink drawings, some of them remind me a little of Cy Twomblys paintings.

Unknown said...

Sophie you are a true inspiration and possibly one of the busiest artists I know. Love your blogs.

Sophie Munns said...

Your visit is appreciated Sandra... I'd like time visiting in the blogosphere but I've hit a busy patch and last night realised that if I was to update my website re the May 18th celebration of Plants Day and promote the exercise which is all part of joining in this international event I better get to it!

THE first day of the residency there was discussion of protocols re Intellectual property around imagery I might end up using. However within a few days my interpretations were looking more Cy Twombly than Molecular Science so that pretty well dropped off as an issue. NOT that I won't be checking.

Its interesting to comprehend that Dna is as much nature as the seed is or the soil and fact of photosynthesis. It may be tapping into a realm that only came from extraordinary developments in Science ...but the same phenomenon of pattering and form is there.... and every seed Ive ever drawn contains Dna!

Sophie Munns said...

hello... glad to have "liked " you at Facebook just now ... didn't realise you had a page there.

As for hard working... well that does seem to be the lot of artists in general, especially at the point that one needs to break out of the quiet of the studio and negotiate what world to go towards ... where to take one's work.
I've had my hermit years... quiet studio-only years... and in fact google me 4 yard ago and you'd be lucky to have found anything... esp anything I'd put online! I was turning 50 and decided next to no profile after over 30 years dedication was hardly good yes... I moved it up a notch or two. One can't stay emerging forever.

I have blogging to thank for provided the missing schooling really. I think what had held me back was the idea that one needed certain things in place first. The right studio, the right gallery, CV spilling over... you know the scenario. I'd had so many distractions and challenges blocking that kind of story...I thought getting online happened when you have everything in place!

Thank God the world has changed is all I can say! Life is so much brighter with this wonderful rich community of bloggers sharing inspiration + encouraging each other on!

nadine paduart said...

fascinating. this is just the thing. cheers for calling my attention to this.

... and impressive design process! i love your scientific bemusement or approach, it is clarifying. which leads to a better understanding, which is enriching, of course.

just yesterday i visited an intriguing exhibition without any further notes and i felt deprived of a key to the artist's intentions.

way to go. i shall pop back.
and yes. nature in everything. thrilling!

Sophie Munns said...

it was good to find you thinking along somewhat similar lines in your latest post... to be expected given the multiplicity of scientific discoveries and perspectives which has to enlarge our curiosity (and with it our trepidation) at this time! Not being provided a key to open the door into unexplored new rooms of thought maintains a private, not public dialogue about the work... and when its touching on science I wonder what is gained in doing this?

I prefer to ask questions and attempt to translate something from my own curiosity into the artworks to hopefully pass on what I am gleaning or at least considering as I go. Humble questions, embarrassing perhaps, are being met with willingness to put me further in the picture. I go by the belief that IF this material is difficult to understand for me then I won't be alone in that... and therefore... why pretend to have a finer grasp of things than I do. Learning requires grit, unless of course one is gifted in a way many of us aren't.

Terms I've heard floating around over the past decade are now finding context and meaning. Already my strongest realisations regard the immensity of the new frontiers of learning and the impossibility of holding this back. That said ... there are endless protocols, ethics panels, checks and balances in place now ... seemingly a growing phenomenon to keep pace with developments that negotiate known and perceived boundaries.

Artists who are keen observers, with respect for painstaking process, the intangible aspects of intuiting a new direction and bringing it to fruition ... seem to find some curious parallels in Science. I'm learning much about how I think and process things as much as anything... and what I haven't seen the need to think about before. I can feel my brain being forced into greater effort... not a bad thing.

At the end of the day I settle back into my studio chair and reflect... what does it mean to me?... what can I take from all this?

Ah Woolf... you've prompted these reflections... talk again soon I hope!
S x

nathalie et cetera said...

oh!!! I love your DNA drawings! the black chromatography ones! great great great!!!! I have a master degree in biology and a couple of summers, i worked in a lab were we did DAN chromatography. i loved to do it and always liked the look of them. now you've put them on paper and it's gorgeous!

Sophie Munns said...

HI Nathalie,
NOw i am pleased if you can read the chromatography OK... these attempts at capturing the images are being put to further use... Ive gessoed canvas ready to paint two largish works based on a couple of the images.
It would be so interesting to be in the lab discussing various things with you...given your dual experience of art and science.
Ive been faltering over what images to develop further for the show... i guess its a matter of simply producing and let the work tell the story ... or not.

LAC EMP 2020 said...

Sophie, what fantastic images in those workbooks. I am drawn into the marks you are making , studying all of the photographs in detail and enjoying your immersion in the project. Just reading through the comments dialogue also yields lots of fascinating viewpoints and nuggets of information. Just like DNA this is a wonderful strand of work to follow.

Sophie Munns said...

Merci Lesley...
I realised last night the comments dialogue was proving a great opportunity to chew on things. This morning I found it possible to add streams of notes to the journal... no doubt prompted by the exchange here. Like when that happens in a relaxed way and is unforced.
This location, the people and access to material is filled with surprises, all positive and hugely enriching!

Sally Tharpe Rowles said...

How interesting & cool..... love all of the drawings! Great work Sophie, thanks for sharing it with us!!

Velma Bolyard said...

when they come down to this: black and white, they just as moving. amazing how data become pattern and art through your manipulating the visual ideas.

Unknown said...

Dear Sophie,

This is a most interesting process of yours, or better said, approach. I liked very much the different stages your sketchbook displays, revealing your thought process in conjunction with your creativity of expression.

I wish you all the best with your painting.

Warmest regards,

Candice Herne said...

ABSOLUTELY!!!! GLORIOUS!!!!!! SOPHIE you are definately tapping into some extraordinary work here your work is stunning!!!

Sophie Munns said...

Good to hear from you Sally... thanks... its been an interesting change to thisgraphic imagery!

Interesting Velma...on the level of pattern amazing how all things can seem to connect... micro or macro. Merci!

Lovely to hear from you again Egmont... and to have visited you last week to see what you've been doing. Its been way too long.
thanks for your warm encouragement,

just back from 4 days away from the studio and this heartwarming message from you is v appreciated! Now to get back to this work!

Leslie Avon Miller said...

love these marks Sophie!

Sophie Munns said...

Much appreciated Leslie!
I look back and remember how intense that month was ... there was so much stimulus and endless visual starting points... another 6 months and I still would have e been scraping the surface!