Art and science are often presented as two diametrically opposed concepts, when, in fact, they exist in ideological symbiosis. The pursuits of the artist and the scientist are the same: make sense of the universe and humanity’s role within it. This is the foundation of Deirdre Murphy’s stunning new exhibit Oculus, the culmination of her residence at Integral Molecular, a biotechnology company that’s partnered with University City Science Center.
The company hosts the BioArt Residency Program, which allows visual artists the opportunity to work in 90-day segments firsthand with their researchers on the laboratory bench, which they hope will provide a platform for community engagement and awareness of the massive strides being made in the areas of medicine and public health.
The bigger picture
Murphy’s work features a kaleidoscopic palette, vivid canvases that lend a vibrant, if eerie, beauty to images of destabilizing epidemics, and compares the patterns of viruses with those of light pollution, in views that range from microscopic to interstellar, culminating in a 26-foot panorama.
Epic themes of universality play across each canvas. Are the viewers witnessing a microscopic view of viral cell growth or a global view of migratory patterns? The answer is far richer and complex than simply choosing A or B, both in the exhibit and in reality.
"As an artist, my artwork has focused on art and science for the last decade with an emphasis on environmental justice and climate change awareness. This exhibition marks a deeper cut into the gender divide within art and science and presents a rare opportunity to connect with a larger, more diverse audience,” says Murphy, whose previous credits include “Warbler Migration,” a permanent sculpture in Dublin, California inspired by the preservation efforts of Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, Powdermill Nature Reserve, and a watershed mural commissioned by Dickenson College in an effort to bring awareness to the importance of environmental conservation. Her latest exhibit examines the interconnectivity of the micro and macro environment, and our role with both.
What, where, when:
Deirdre Murphy presents Oculus at the Esther Klein Gallery, 3600 Market Street. The opening reception is August 15 at 5pm-7:30pm, and the exhibit runs until September 28. The event is wheelchair accessible.