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From BioArt Residency to the Gallery, Artist Laura Splan Exhibits Work Rooted in Science

From BioArt Residency to the Gallery, Artist Laura Splan Exhibits Work Rooted in Science

PHILADELPHIA--(October 14, 2019) – Following a three-month BioArt Residency, Laura Splan will exhibit new work in a solo exhibition at Esther Klein Gallery opening October 17th. Conformations is the culmination of a residency designed by the University City Science Center and uCity-based biotech company, Integral Molecular.

Splan’s mixed-media work explores how things are made and what they are made of, destabilizing notions of the presence and absence of bodies evoking the mutability of categories that delineate their status. During her BioArt Residency, which was supported by The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Splan worked with multiple scientists at Integral Molecular.

Conformations, a solo exhibition by Laura Splan
October 17 – November 23, 2019

3600 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA

Opening Reception:
Thursday, October 17, 5-7:30 p.m.

3600 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA

Artist Talk /Closing Reception:
Tuesday, November 19, 5-7:30 p.m.

Quorum, 3675 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA

The interdisciplinary exhibition combines biomedical imagery and artifacts with objects made from the hand-spun fiber of laboratory llamas and alpacas. These immunized animals are used to produce antibodies for human drugs. Splan’s fiber sculptures are juxtaposed with photographs and time-based artworks that mine the materiality of biotechnology to reveal poetic subjectivities.

The installation will include a doorway veiled in llama fiber, representing a membrane that visitors have to permeate in order to enter the back gallery; a nod to the mechanics of cellular biology. Some artworks include prompts to viewers to “remove shoes” or “sit around and wait”, all while being exposed to different sensory stimuli. The exhibition references the molecular biology phenomenon of conformational change (when environmental factors induce a change in the shape of a macromolecule such as a protein) using human interactions with elements in the gallery.

The exhibition will also feature sound and video recordings from the artist’s time at Integral Molecular as well as photographs from Splan’s artist book “Needle in a Haystack,” which will be on view. Additional kinetic artworks bring the metanarratives of molecular biology into the gallery including a Twitter activated laboratory mixer.

Laura Splan lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. Her work has been exhibited at the Museum of Arts & Design and Beall Center for Art + Technology. International audiences for her work have included Iceland, South Korea, England, Germany, Sweden, Austria, and Canada. Her work is included in the collections of the Thoma Art Foundation, the NYU Langone Art Collection, and the Science Center. Her biomedical themed artworks have been commissioned by the Centers for Disease Control Foundation, the Gen Art New Media Art Exhibition and Davidson College.

She has received research funding from The Jerome Foundation and her residencies have been supported by the Knight Foundation, the Institute for Electronic Arts, Harvestworks, and the Pollock-Krasner Foundation. She has been a visiting lecturer at Stanford University teaching interdisciplinary courses including “Embodied Interfaces”, “Data as Material” and “Art & Biology”. She is currently a Creative Experiments track member at NEW INC, the New Museum’s cultural incubator in New York, NY.

About the Science Center

Located in the heart of uCity Square, the Science Center is a mission-driven nonprofit organization that catalyzes and connects innovation to entrepreneurship and technology commercialization. For 50+ years, the Science Center has supported startups, research, and economic development in the life sciences, healthcare, physical sciences, and emerging technology sectors. As a result, Science Center-supported companies account for one out of every 100 jobs in the Greater Philadelphia region and drive $13 billion in economic activity in the region annually. By providing resources and programming for any stage of a business’s lifecycle, the Science Center helps scientists, entrepreneurs and innovators take their concepts from idea to IPO – and beyond. For more information about the Science Center, visit

About the Esther Klein Gallery

The Esther Klein Gallery (EKG), which opened in 1977, uses the creative arts as a platform to explore relationships between art, science and technology. EKG seeks to positively impact the cultural life of both its immediate neighborhood of West Philadelphia and the broader Philadelphia community. EKG programming is designed to explore the range of art, science and technology exhibitions, and includes gallery talks, panel discussions, and education programs. For more information, visit

About Integral Molecular

Integral Molecular is a Philadelphia-grown biotech company with a mission to develop biotherapeutics to treat diseases with no available cures, by focusing on an important group of proteins found on the surface of cells. The technology developed by Integral Molecular has been integrated into the drug discovery pipelines of over 300 biotech and pharmaceutical companies to help discover new therapies for cancer, diabetes, auto-immune disorders and viral threats such as Ebola, Zika and Dengue.

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