A collection of 16 textured quilts inspired by scientific photographs of biological structures is being exhibited at the Center for Care and Discovery, marking the beginning of a series of art installations set for the new hospital pavilion.
Returning for its second showing at the University of Chicago Medicine and Biolological Sciences following multiple requests, “Art Under the Microscope: Bioartography Quilts” will be on display from Monday, June 3, through the end of August.
Monica Hork, president of Arts in Health and art advisor to UChicago Medicine and Kathy DeVries, vice president of marketing and communications and a fiber artist herself, worked with members of the UChicago Medicine and BSD Healing Arts Program Committee to bring this collection back to the medical campus.
“The vivid imagery of each piece in ‘Art Under the Microscope’ depicts the intricate beauty of our existence and the delicate framework in which our colleagues in medical science operate to strengthen and improve human life,” DeVries said. “This exhibition is befitting of the collaboration that goes on at our medical campus, and it is my hope that our patients, their families and our staff take a moment to enjoy and be inspired by this exhibit at our new hospital pavilion.”
Photomicrographs taken by researchers at the University of Michigan Center for Organogenesis inspired each of the quilts in the exhibit. In the course of this microscopic research, special stains are used to highlight alterations in tissue structure or function that are characteristic of health or disease.
Washington, D.C.,-area art quilters from a group called Fiber Artists @ Loose Ends emulated the researchers’ photomicrographs using fabrics such as suede, tulle and satin embellished with glass beads, crystals and embroidery to make textile renditions of the microscopic blood vessels, skin cells, retinas and other human and animal tissues.
Hork says art exhibitions complement the setting for physical and emotional healing in a medical campus.
“The significance of art exhibits such as this one is their ability to engage you, transport you, even if briefly, from feelings of anxiety and worry to feelings of calm, reassurance and human connection,” Hork said. “Time and again, patients, their family members, staff and visitors have expressed their joy in viewing the variety of artworks exhibited through the UCM Healing Arts Program.”
“Art Under the Microscope” is sponsored by the Society for the Arts in Healthcare in partnership with Gifts of Art and the Center for Organogenesis.