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Reinterpreting Biotechnology: “Digital Art” by Hunter O’Reilly

Art Gallery

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The subjects of Hunter O'Reilly's upcoming art exhibit are straight out of the headlines and editorial pages: anthrax, human cloning, stem cell research, and genetic profiling. She explores these topics by juxtaposing images, photographs and micrographs in what might be called digital collages.

In Anthrax Clock, the artist overlays images of anthrax spores with self-portraits in four panels that represent the face of a clock. As the concentration of anthrax increases, the artist's facial expression changes from happiness to pain to comatose.

Anthrax Clock

The artist's intent is to stimulate viewers to consider both sides of controversial issues in cutting-edge research, including the positive aspects of biotechnology that are often neglected in the media. "Whether people agree with me or not, I feel I am successful if people have a better understanding of science through my art," says O'Reilly.

In A Few Cells Create a Kidney and a New Life: Portrait of Shauna Anderson, O'Reilly portrays the story of a woman with kidney failure. The story behind the art suggests that she and others could benefit from stem cell research.

A Few Cells Create a Kidney and a New Life Portrait of Shauna Anderson

Trained as a geneticist, O'Reilly has produced numerous covers for scientific journals. She lectures at the University of Wisconsin at Parkside.

The exhibition "Radioactive Biohazard: Reinterpreting Biotechnology as Art" will be at the University of Michigan Warren Robbins Gallery in Ann Arbor, Michigan from September 3 through 26, 2002.

Below are more digital artworks from the exhibit.

Let My Family Live! Portrait of Randolfe Wicker, the First Human Cloning Activist

Rosalind Franklin and the Discovery of DNA Structure

See related GNN articles
»Florida anthrax bacterium sequenced
»'Cc:' The first cloned kitten
»New award named for Rosalind Franklin

Birgit Reinert

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