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


Chemical Warfare
Laura Vinnedge

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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.

 For more information, please visit:







Merwin & Wakeley Galleries
Ames School of Art
Illinois Wesleyan University
6 Ames Plaza West
Bloomington, Illinois  61701
Gallery Information:309.556.3822


Monday-Friday: 12-4pm
Tuesday evening: 7-9pm
Saturday & Sunday: 1-4pm