Art and science come together in a mesmerizing new multimedia exhibit entitled, "Living Light: Photographs by Light of Bioluminescent Bacteria," on display through Saturday, March 24, at the Epping Gallery at McHenry County College.
An artist's presentation will be held 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday, March 5, in the Scot Room in Building B at the college, 8900 Route 14 in Crystal Lake.
This solo show at the college's Epping Gallery from Chicago-based artist and scientist Hunter Cole features photographs of human figures, including portraits, nudes and installations illuminated by a glowing blue light created by bioluminescent bacteria. Cole creates liquid cultures of bacteria, then draws the bacteria into different shapes on Petri dishes using a paintbrush. Finally, she photographs the glowing Petri dishes alongside her subjects to create modern works of provocative symbolism.
"Art and science have always been mutually inclusive for me," said Cole, who has a Ph.D. in genetics and teaches in the biology department at Loyola University of Chicago. "Science serves as a vehicle for expressing my creativity and artistry. Art serves as a motivation for me to interpret our living world."
In addition to the photos in the Epping Gallery, at Artspace144 in the college's art hallway in Building A, visitors also can see a time-lapse video piece featuring the bacteria growing and dying, accompanied by a musical score based on the protein sequences in the bacteria -- all of which is meant to invoke reflections on the issue of mortality.
Hours for the Epping Gallery and Artspace144 are 8 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Fridays and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays.
The exhibit and artist's talk are free and open to the public. For information, call (815) 455-8785 or visit www.mchenry.edu/artgallery.
Cole is known for her work which reinterprets science through art. She has worked in various media including painting, drawing, digital media, video, music and sound, and multimedia installations. Cole holds a Ph.D. and master's degree in genetics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a Bachelor of Science from the University of California-Berkeley. Currently, she is a professor in the biology department at Loyola University Chicago, where she teaches a course in "Biology Through Art," where students work to create art in a biology laboratory. Visit www.huntercole.org.