The Washington University School of Medicine showcases art exhibits on a rotating quarterly schedule. On display in the Farrell Learning and Teaching Center; artwork in these rotating shows are medical or scientific by nature, St. Louis themed or produced by a member of the Washington University community.
Special Event Exhibit
Andrea Myles: November 2019
After attending Washington University School of Fine Arts in the early 1970s, I had several jobs, none of which scratched the right creative itch. So I took an 18-year maternity leave and gave it some deep thought. Occasionally in life, things seem to happen for a reason. I ran into a dear friend, Marcy Hartstein, who mentioned an opening in the department of Medical Photography, Illustration and Computer Graphics (MedPIC) at Washington University School of Medicine. It was an incredible opportunity and I began work almost on the day of my interview. Over the next 16 years, I taught myself how to use a computer and the programs needed to do medical art; created posters and brochures as well as collaborated on illustrations that accompanied physicians’ medical research; and designed many types of media advertising campus speakers and events.
In mid-2013, my brother (Dr. Howard Lite) was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor, glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). Within weeks of his diagnosis, MedPIC was closed, giving me the ability to spend almost every day with him until he died in 2015.
Last year, I was diagnosed with the same type of tumor. Although I started painting seriously shortly before my brother died as both a grounding and a positive outlet, continuing to do so has been a true gift for me on many levels. It is a means of chronicling time, sharing and expressing my heartfelt vision while developing my skills. I am thankful to have the opportunity to show my work on the campus where I was once employed and am currently receiving treatment. I hope you enjoy viewing my paintings as much as I did creating them!
Andre Tourrette: September 2019
I, Andre Tourrette, turned on a welding machine at the age of fifteen and never turned it off. Now, forty years later, having made a living repairing everything from half full dumpsters to nuclear reactors on submarines, my desire to work with metal burns hotter than ever. The scope of the metal sculptures I create ranges from one end of the spectrum to the other, which is synonymous with my imagination and personality.
The intent of my work is very simple. I just want you to enjoy it. I want it to add beauty to your life every day. I want your environment to become a better place because it is there. I want it to be noticed while not taking over the space. I believe your surroundings play a big part to your overall level of happiness, and my work is designed to increase your daily life experience.
A career as a metal fabricator and welder have led me down many paths with this often misunderstood material. Typically industrial, there is a beauty within each piece of metal waiting to be revealed. I try to peel away the layers and bring out the natural charm of its substance.
A few of my artistic addictions include the arrangement of simple parts and shapes to create form, the removal and occasional re-introduction of negative space, and the use of everyday objects seen as refuse to others, which, in the right hands, concedes artistic identity previously unwitnessed.
I am pleased to have my work acquired by private and commercial collectors worldwide.
Susan Zimmerman: September 2019
The hands and hearts in this exhibit are works of interpretive realism. The pieces are sculpted in porcelain and smoke fired with organic materials, giving the works an ancient look. Each hand and heart is then coated with a mix of beeswax and mineral oil to enhance the richness of the smoke firing. Anatomical diagrams were used to make the pieces in this exhibit that are a blend of authenticity and artistic interpretation. Each of the 18 hands and 8 hearts are unique. As the works took shape, so too did the stories of Hands and Hearts of Clay. One hand is adorned with gold metal leaf inspired by the 15th-century Japanese technique known as kintsugi that repairs broken pottery with gold-laced lacquer. This practice accentuates the break and makes the piece more treasured. The heart gesture formed with two hands in the exhibit is similar to the one first noted in the art world in 1989 by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan. Another pair of hands resembles artifacts from an archaeological dig.
Various matters of the heart are also depicted in this exhibit. In one display, a feather is balanced against a heart, referencing the ancient Egyptian belief that a deceased’s heart must be lighter than the feather of truth (Ma’at) in order to enter the afterlife. A romantic heart mixed with interpretive anatomical features alludes to the human heart that Aristotle once described as having three chambers with a small dent in the middle. Another potential origin for the romantic heart shape comes from the silphium plant’s seed pods once used as a cure-all in the ancient city of Cyrene (present-day Libya). The silver-leafed ceramic replica coins that bear the pod’s heart likeness were used during this time. A gold-leafed heart pays homage to the “heart of gold” expression for being compassionate, which came into use during Shakespearean times. The heart in hand is a traditional folk art motif used by the Shakers, Amish and the Order of Odd Fellows and is symbolic of charity.
Zimmerman’s ceramics and photography are in private and permanent collections at various institutions and have been featured in galleries throughout the Midwest since 2005. Her 2018 solo exhibit, Smoke-Fired Vessels and Prints: an Abstract Exploration, featured a wide range of her paired porcelain vessels and photographs. In 2019, she spent three-months as an artist-in-residence at the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation in Taos, New Mexico.
Zimmerman’s ceramics have also been featured in various magazines and St. Louis publications. Zimmerman has had her hands in clay for much of her life. Although her journeys throughout the world as a history and travel writer have helped shaped her artistic vision, it is from inside her century-old farmhouse along the train tracks of Kirkwood, Missouri where she shapes her clay.
Mark Hurd, December 2018
Mark Hurd: December 2018
Capturing the essence of a special place, a wonderful memory at a magical moment in time is what defines my art.
I am drawn to bright, saturated colors and contrast, whether they be brilliant neon reds and yellows against the dark wall of an inner city building, or the infinite, vivid shades of green in a radiant tree bathed in late day sun. My subject matter consists mainly of landmarks of St. Louis, as well as Chicago and other cities in the United States and Europe. A major creative influence is Bill Kohn, my painting professor from Washington University, where I received my BFA in 1986.
As my company, Dancing Moon Fine Art has evolved, I have partnered with corporate design groups in “purpose based design”, installing my art in retirement communities and hospital environments involved in the treatment of individuals with dementia and cognitive decline, triggering memory recall of a special place or time.
My process is a unique creative technique that utilizes my photography as a guide, free drawing and adding color to individual shapes, and layering those shapes digitally to create an impressionistic graphic work of art.
The Edinburgh Stereoscopic Studies, December 2018
Selections from The Edinburgh Stereoscopic Studies of Anatomy
First published in 1905, the atlas includes stereographs of the head and brain, the heart and pericardium, the mediastina and lungs, and the temporal bone and inner ear. The complete atlas contains 250 stereoscopic views of the various parts of the human body.
Stereographs, also known as stereograms, stereopticans, or stereo views, simulate a three dimensional image. Two images, representing left-eye and right-eye views of the same object, are presented so that each eye sees only the appropriate image. An illusion of depth is created by this binocular view. Early stereographs used drawing and illustrations. Stereography utilizing photography dates from the early 1850s. The physician, author, and poet Oliver Wendell Holmes invented an affordable stereoscope, known as the “American stereoscope” or the “Holmes stereoscope,” around 1860. He wrote in the June 1859 edition of Atlantic Monthly:
“[T]he first effect of looking at a good photograph through the stereoscope is a surprise such as no painting ever produced. The mind feels its way into the very depths of the picture. The scraggy branches of a tree in the foreground run out at us as if they would scratch our eyes out. The elbow of a figure stands forth as to make us uncomfortable.”
Each set of stereoscopic photographs is mounted to card stock and designed for viewing through a stereoscopic viewer like the Holmes stereoscope also on display here. The photographs depict specimens carefully dissected and labeled to show the various points of anatomy. Corresponding descriptions are printed above the images.
Created for students of anatomy as a teaching aid, the atlas was a popular resource for medical schools. The Bernard Becker Medical Library holds multiple editions of the atlas, including an edition published circa 1914 on the pathological anatomy of the eye, as well as a revised edition of the original atlas.
Jenna McNair, March 2019
Jenna McNair: March 2019
LensScapes is a series that evolved from viewing microscopic slides of regularly occurring virus and bacteria with a new perspective. Many strong and inspiring women have graced us with their willpower and selflessness in their fight against such viruses, a testament to what is beautiful both inside and outside of their bodies. Technological advancements are approaching, garnering hope for a better future. As the scope of science and the role that it plays in our environment is widening, our general perceptions are focusing inward.
The social media landscape has become increasingly more difficult to navigate. Where scientific journals and peer reviewed articles were once an unchallenged source of truth, the perils of interaction online are increasingly overgrowing, uprooting its foundation, creating unimaginable risk factors unseen in the noise of likes and shares. The hazardous environment that we fill with digital shouting is creating a deeper divide in discussions of vaccinations, bullying, and climate change. Stepping back from the narrow lens we’ve accustomed our eyes to, we can identify the source of toxicity and begin to heal and repair the damage left in its wake.
Jenna McNair received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Southern Illinois University of Carbondale with a specialization in Painting, and minors in Art History and Museum Studies.
Marty Ryan, June 2019
Marty Ryan: June 2019
Marty Ryan is a visual artist from St. Louis, Missouri. His newest series entitled “Mistakes and Misplaced Faces”, focuses on finding the balance between the positive and negative aspects of our day to day life. Who will you choose to be today? What face will you decide to wear? Are your thoughts your own or are they echoes of what others think of you? These are a few anxiety fueled questions that dig at each and every one of us.
Marty uses the human anatomy in formal wear to represent the idea social standard of adulthood and professionalism. In place of faces, he has incorporated emotion and texture through common household items.
Marty started taking painting seriously at the age of seventeen and now at thirty-one the overall goal has remained constant; to create art that gives a voice to the hopeless.
Jeannette Wong, June 2019
Jeannette Wong: June 2019
Jeannette was born and raised in Topeka, Kansas. She moved to St. Louis to attend college at Washington University and first discovered glass when she signed up for an elective during her senior year. She continued to dabble in glassblowing after graduating but it was not until she moved to DC to pursue an NIH fellowship that she more wholeheartedly fell in love with the medium. She is grateful to Kevin Lurie for artistic and life mentorship during that time. She returned to St. Louis for medical school and has been blowing glass nearly every week at Third Degree Glass Factory ever since. Glass has served as her creative escape from the rigorous demands of medicine and as a way to meet new people and to challenge herself. She continues to blow glass despite being in her intern year of pediatrics residency here at St. Louis Children’s Hospital.
Glassblowing is an art that walks a fine line between order and chaos. This precarious duality is where true creativity comes from. Precise order is needed – there are hundreds of steps to making the perfectly glass blown bowl. The care of the artist is necessary to sustain the glass at a malleable temperature, maintain symmetry on the blowpipe, and to gradually build color, texture, and shape. And yet, a machine can make glass products from a mold with precise shape. But the chaos, sometimes carefully controlled, other times barely managed, is what makes hand blown glass unique, beautiful, and continuously challenging.