Art meets anatomy in Bloodwork 2
KIM MORGAN/BRENDON MCNAUGHTON at P|M gallery (1485 Dupont #301), Saturday (October 24) to November 28. 416-937-3862. Rating: NNNN
Medical imagery and anatomy in art takes us back to the Renaissance, when secret (and illegal) dissections fuelled Leonardo’s and Michelangelo’s figuration.
The whiff of the clinical and the forbidden continues to inspire artists. For the show Bloodwork 2, Kim Morgan and Brendon McNaughton both work with medical images of blood and human organs, drawing on scientific research and MRIs.
The effect is predictably chilly and sleek. Morgan’s blown-up scanning electron microscope (SEM) mural Blood Pool mixes the blood of 15 donors of varying ethnicities, sexual orientations and health. The result is a microscopic group portrait, a broad cross-section that includes the spiky presence of HIV.
Her elegant and ominous chandelier Blood Clot consists of stainless steel rings set with test tubes of her blood and more SEM images, emitting a ruby light.
Morgan’s Platelets blows up blood cells to the size of a small sculptures, where they appear to be smooth, mid-century studies in abstract form, coated with oxidizing rust.
McNaughton’s sculptural process starts with medical imagery but takes a different tack. His Hearts Of Gold are actual-scale gilded renderings of hearts that were scanned via MRI. They are less about the human heart than about plutocratic vanity. McNaughton plans to offer customized gilded sculptures of people’s scanned hearts for a cool six grand, part of his ongoing practice commenting on income inequality and access to health care.
Both artists examine the intersection of the visceral, the cultural and the scientific: that uneasy area where art, medicine and technology intersect and shape our perceptions of the body and ourselves.