“Recovery: Embroidered X-Rays” & “Under the Looking Glass" (till 10/19)

Matthew Cox, “Recovery: Embroidered X-Rays

Maggie Leininger, “Under the Looking Glass: Examining Natural and Constructed Structures

August 3–October 19, 2007
International Museum of Surgical Sciences
1524 N. Lake Shore Dr.
Chicago, IL 60610 USA
fax 312.642.9516

These artists juxtapose stitching with medical imaging technologies to investigate the human condition.

Matthew Cox, Skull with Earrings

“Recovery,” the title of Cox’s exhibition, is fitting on a number of levels: the works consist of found x-rays that Cox has recovered from hospitals and transformed into artwork by literally re-covering parts of the exposed skeletons with embroidered faces, hair, and clothing, all rendered in a slightly anachronistic Botticelli-esque style. Contrasting the cold, diagnostic quality of the x-rays with the nurturing aspect of hand-stitching, the artist nurses the depicted patients through their recovery from sickness to health. Stitching, says Cox, “acts as care giving or healing to the injured, a socially feminine sort of action, while the x-ray itself can be considered masculine and unemotional.”

Under the Looking Glass,” Leininger’s exhibition, comprises embellished fabric “specimens” that replicate the microscopic patterns created by disease-causing microbes as they grow, reproduce, and form colonies not unlike those found within human civilizations. These works illustrate parallels between two types of “cultural development”: the naturally occurring cellular processes of bacteria in a Petri dish, and the social engineering of communities within an urban environment. Leininger says, “Groups of cells divide and interact with one another the way many of us interact in daily life, navigating paths and creating or breaking barriers for specific purposes. Cultural development, either within a specific neighborhood or larger cultural unit, is represented by the macrocosm of these smaller pieces.“


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