Latest exhibits at the IMSS (now to October)

Fingerprint DNA: A Portrait of an Arab-American Family” &
"Myth Symbol Image"

Concurrent exhibitions by:

Laura Kurtenbach, anatomical stained glass images
Geraldine Ondrizek
, fabric installation about DNA fingerprinting

August 1–October 17, 2008

International Museum of Surgical Sciences
1524 N. Lake Shore Dr.
Chicago, IL 60610 USA
312.642.6502
info@imss.org

The International Museum of Surgical Science in Chicago is pleased to present “Myth Symbol Image,” an exhibition of digital montages by Laura Kurtenbach, and “Fingerprint DNA: A Portrait of an Arab-American Family,” a fiber installation by Geraldine Ondrizek, as part of its ongoing “Anatomy in the Gallery” contemporary art program. The exhibitions will run concurrently, opening on Friday, August 1, 2008, with a free, public reception for the artists from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m., and remaining on view through October 17. Both of these artists employ translucent layers to juxtapose cultural tradition and craft with medical science.

“Myth Symbol Image” consists of digital montages that Kurtenbach creates by superimposing anatomical illustrations on top of Christian iconography from stained glass windows. Her compositions are printed using the Ultrachrome giclée process on plexiglass sheets that evoke the church windows from which the images are derived, at the same time subverting their intended purpose by revealing the “bare bones” of human life—the body’s mortality. She says, “The use of multiple layers creates a world in which the semi-transparent layers of scientific materials obstruct, overlap, and combine with the religious images to create a dichotomy between the two.”

Kurtenbach also adds a layer of handmade marks to the prints, rendering the computer-generated images intimate and personal. Making these marks also serves as a form of catharsis, a process she perceives as “not unlike that of a surgeon, in the sense that a surgeon must cut and potentially scar a patient to heal and restore health to the individual.” Kurtenbach received her MFA in photography from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco in 2007 and has since lived in Chicago, where her self-portraits will be exhibited in a show opening in mid-August at Morpho Gallery. For more information about the artist and her work, visit www.lkimages.com.

“Fingerprint DNA” comprises the actual DNA fingerprints of four members of Ondrizek’s husband’s Arab-American family, the Qamars, each printed by dye sublimation on a panel of Ultra Sheer fabric. The printed panels are mounted on a loom-like metal structure, which calls to mind the Middle Eastern tradition of rug-making. Ondrizek says, “The art of rug-making has been practiced for centuries in the Arab world, and, like those of genetic material, the patterns are handed down through the generations.” Viewed from the front, the familial identity markers on each panel overlap; from the side, threads connecting each panel are visible, representing literally the characteristics that are shared by members of a family.



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