Callas - The Sea From Whence We Came
Callas - The Sea From Whence We Came
BACK DETAIL Callas - The Sea From Whence We Came
BACK DETAIL Callas - The Sea From Whence We Came
DETAIL Callas - The Sea From Whence We Came
DETAIL Callas - The Sea From Whence We Came
Callas - Our Inner Fish
Callas - Our Inner Fish
DETAIL - Callas - Our Inner Fish
DETAIL - Callas - Our Inner Fish
Callas Inner Fish Installation Shot by A. Carvajal
Callas Inner Fish Installation Shot by A. Carvajal
Callas - Our Inner Fish 2
Callas - Our Inner Fish 2
DETAIL Callas - Our Inner Fish 2
Callas Drawing for Sculpture with Fish Tails
Callas Drawing for Sculpture with Fish Tails
Callas - Drawing MDIBL
Callas - Drawing MDIBL
Callas - Fish Tail
Callas - Fish Tail
Callas MDIBL - Pregnant Larvae
Callas MDIBL - Pregnant Larvae
Callas MDIBL PL 1
Callas MDIBL PL 1
Callas MDIBL PL 2
Callas MDIBL PL 2
Callas MDIBL PL 3
Callas MDIBL PL 2
Callas MDIBL PL 4
Callas MDIBL PL 4
Callas MDIBL PL 6
Callas MDIBL PL 6
Callas MDIBL PL 5
Callas MDIBL PL 5
Callas MDIBL PL 7
Callas MDIBL PL 7
Callas MDIBL Zebra Fish
Callas MDIBL Zebra Fish
Callas MDIBL Thought Board 1
Callas MDIBL Thought Board 1
Callas MDIBL Thought Board 2
Callas MDIBL Thought Board 2
Callas - The Sea From Whence We Came

How We Carry Forward

Art and Science Collaboration with Artist Kimberly Callas and Jim Coffman, Ph.D.

My artwork stems from a meditation on how natural processes such as cell propagation, bees building honeycomb, changes in weather, seasons, time, birth, death and decay, become the symbolic language of life. My work looks at how we create meaning from nature as a way to bring us back into relationship with nature.

This current project is inspired by my collaboration with Dr. James Coffman, Ph.D., MDI Biological Laboratory. Jim is researching how chronic early life stress can predispose a person to a variety of inflammatory diseases and more rapid aging, a phenomenon known as ‘developmental programming’ of health and disease.

Through meeting and conversation, Jim and I decided that the collaboration will focus on the theme of ‘how the past moves into the present’. This theme occurs throughout his research, from the chronic stress in early life showing up decades later as arthritis, or as in the understanding from evolution that we all come from the sea. An understanding that has the practical application that the zebra fish makeup closely resembles the make up of the human so that the research is applicable.

As part of the collaboration, Jim has agreed to have an ‘ecological portrait’ (part of my current series) created using his image. The ‘Ecological Portrait’ series combines an individual’s portrait with a pattern or material from nature that is important to that individual. This collaboration has inspired a series of ‘portraits’. One using Jim’s image combined with the patterning from zebra fish tail, a key element of his research; and another portrait that uses a more detailed image of Jim, but has a less obvious reference to the zebra fish. The zebra fish in the second portrait is hidden within the bust of the portrait and relates to the figure proportionally in reverse (i.e. tale is to scale with the head and the body of the fish to the torso of the figure). This ‘hiding’ is a reference to our ‘inner fish’ a relationship that without science is otherwise invisible. The third has the fish coming forward and taking over the image.

‘How We Carry Forward’ Pregnant Larvae Ink Drawings
Art and Science Collaboration with Artist Kimberly Callas and Jim Coffman, Ph.D.

Exploring the theme of ‘How We Carry Forward’, I did a series of ink drawings on stacks of rice paper, so that the drawing would bleed through the papers and the mark left by the previous drawing was what ‘was carried forward’, a piece of the past making a mark on the present. These drawings, inspired by the research of stress on fetal development, emphasize our relationship with zebra fish by blurring the distinction between the image of the larvae and the image of a pregnant woman. I’ve also made a small sculpture of this image that was exhibited in the garden on the MDI Biological Laboratory campus.

‘How We Carry Forward’ Thought Board
Art and Science Collaboration with Artist Kimberly Callas and Jim Coffman, Ph.D.

As part of the exhibit, we wanted to show what an artist’s process might look like in relationship to the scientist, so we brought in a piece of the studio thought board and recreated it on a hallway white board. On display were the sketches and drawings and measurements used to create the ‘How We Carry Forward’ sculptures, drawings and prints. During the exhibits and tours, the thought board engaged the public and inspired many questions and conversations about the artwork and the research at the lab.

‘How We Carry Forward’ James Coffman, Ph.D. Statement
Art and Science Collaboration with Artist Kimberly Callas and Jim Coffman, Ph.D.

“Kimberly and I are both interested in examining how life continually brings the past into the present. Biology provides many examples of this, from the genetic memories encoded in our DNA, to the memories of prior experiences each of us has encoded in our neural circuitry, and the influence of those memories on our perceptions and behavior. In my laboratory we are learning how what you experience early in life can epigenetically determine your proclivities and susceptibilities later in life, including your susceptibility to disease and the rate at which you age. At a deeper level, much of what we are and do remains a legacy of our most ancient ancestors—we are literally an expression, in the words of Neil Shubin, of “our inner fish”. But our fate is not predetermined, because life is also inherently creative—the essence of both art and science. What excites me about this collaboration is getting to see how these perspectives find artistic expression in Kimberly’s work.”
——-
James A. Coffman, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
MDI Biological Laboratory

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