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Inspired by her love of weeds, Catherine Fitzgerald has created the first model of DNA made of twigs and weeds. The artist used thin copper wire to attach wild weed flowers onto twigs in a work she calls unwanted genes (weeds) on a DNA spiral.

Detail of unwanted genes (weeds) on a DNA spiral.

“The original idea came to me when I was daydreaming,” says Fitzgerald, a New Zealander who now lives in Dublin. “I thought it would be easy to make, but it actually took a long time and lots of fiddling to recreate what had been in my mind.”

Rather than simply re-working scientific images as art, she tries to create art that raises questions or new ideas, or represents an emotional response to something found in nature.

Catherine Fitzgerald. unwanted genes (weeds) on a DNA spiral, (2003). Digital print block mounted on wood, 20 x 150 cm. Image courtesy the artist.

To sum up her affinity for weeds, Fitzgerald quotes Ralph Waldo Emerson: “What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered.”

The work was included in a recent exhibition called “DNA: Art & Science” at the Contemporary Art Museum of the University of South Florida. Selections from the exhibition can be viewed here.

To see more works by Fitzgerald, visit the artist’s Web site.

— Birgit Reinert

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