Maggie Hotchkiss sent me her paintings last week – from the other side of the pond in Connecticut – wondering if I’d post them up. Like everything I get I had a look and read a little about her motivations, ideas and so on and came to the conclusion that this was a person who was finding her way through art, trying to make sense of her passions, ones that initially seem incompatible, art and science.
This dichotomy is only a recent one, in the past artists were both. They explored, dissected, discovered everything there was to know about the physical world. Infact, one could argue that without artists the development of western medicine would not be what it is today.
Anyway, i’m going off on a tangent. Back to Maggie Hotchkiss. What’s most interesting about her work is the strange fusion of pop art sensibilities and graphic depictions of organs and innards. All based in medicine, in biology. She has a good sense of form, composition and colour and her knowledge of biology and passion for medicine is clearly evident in each composition. After all she studied anatomy and physiology and currently works in the Department of Emergency Medicine at the Yale University School of Medicine. She is also still learning her craft – some of her paintings are more successful than others -and that takes time, energy and guts and I have no doubt she will find her space, place to realise her passion.
In her biography she writes:
I happened to be studying the urinary and reproductive systems. Do you know what the inside of the epididymis looks like? Do you know what an epididymis is? Even after acing A & P I and II, I still couldn’t get some of those amazing images out of my head. For example, one of my favourites was the nephron. The basic structural and functional unit of the kidney is also one of the coolest looking structures in the body.
All that is beyond me but to Hotchkiss her discovery of anatomy has opened up many possibilities and with a passion for art she has put herself onto an interesting path that I’m sure will be fruitful over the coming years.
Here’s what she has to say about the work:
bag of bones, blood and guts. Nauseating associations normally accompany the human body when viewed from an anatomical standpoint. Perhaps to make light, or simply to illuminate my fascination with the inner workings of our bodies, I began creating colourful images of organs and their components. Throwing scale out the window, the heart rests upon cardiac cell tissue, DNA anchors a eukaryotic cell to the canvas, and E-coli looks as if it might make a meal out of the large intestine. A mixture between human anatomy and modern art, these images are meant to be playful and fun while illustrating the brilliant complexity of the human body.