The Merwin & Wakeley Galleries Illinois Wesleyan University
November 5 - December 5, 2013
Tuesday, November 5 Vinnedge Lecture 4:00PM RM 218 School of Art Opening Reception for both exhibits in the galleries 5-6PM
THE MERWIN GALLERY
Chemical Warfare Laura Vinnedge
BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) and BHT (butylated hdroxytoluene) are chemicals that delay rancidity in foods that contain
fats or oils and have been shown to cause cancer in rats;
Bisphenol A is an industrial chemical found in epoxy resins, hard plastic containers, and metal
based food and beverage cans and has been shown to cause a wide range of adverse health
effects, particularly in infants. . .
“What is the measure of progress? It is possible to measure the progress of the last
200 to 300 years in soil erosion. We can measure it in the rate of species extinction.
We can mea- sure it in pollution, in the toxicity of the world. Those things, like
power and speed, are perfectly measurable.” Wendell Berry: “The Myth of Progress”
The imagery in CHEMICAL WARFARE developed from a similar question of the efficacy of a seemingly wholesale adoption
of chemically enhanced living and the resulting impact on our environments and especially,
our bodies. The air we breathe, the food we eat, the water we drink, our shelter and
our natural environment are altered by the influx of chemicals such as the infamous
“Dioxins” (industrial by-products) and “PCBs”, the insidious “Phthalates” (the most pervasive chemicals found in our homes, leaked and leeched from household
cleansers and plastics), “Bisphenols” (plastics containers, lining of food cans), “PFAs” (non-stick surfaces), and “PBDEs”, (coffee makers, blenders, toasters, microwaves, tvs. . .)
The CHEMICAL WARFARE panel paintings combine abstracted biological micro-interiors
of the human body with infusions of streaming and festering bumps and dots that envelope,
infiltrate and swarm. Circulatory beds of dense capillary arrangements infuse the
thyroid, white blood cells attack cancer, red blood cells circulate around alveolar
sacs, and strands of fibrin and platelets form scabs and develop clots. Each painting
hosts a chemical name that is physically imbedded or symbolically represented in invading
molecular forms or patterned modulations that shift the organic shapes from their
natural state to a more artificial realm.
The figurative transformations in CHEMICAL WARFARE, inspired by the omnipresent permeations
of industrial and pharmaceutical chemicals can be viewed either as enhanced modifications
or disturbing mutations.