2024 SAW MICRO-COMMISSION



BOOK A FREE SCHOOL VISIT FOR SEPTEMBER 2024

Groups of up to 30 students are invited with their schools to a Bio Art Exhibition in Minehead:
Everybody gets to make some colony-inspired SPIN ART using some very cool ‘SpinR’ art gadgets, and contribute to the Wall of Bioprospects!
We also get hands-on with some ‘Micromanipulators’, with a challenge to draw the SMALLEST DRAWINGS you’ve ever seen!
  • Thursday 26th September - Morning or Afternoon
  • Friday 27th September - Morning or Afternoon
  • Thursday 3rd October - Morning or Afternoon
  • Friday 4th October - Morning or Afternoon
  • Evenings or Weekends - By arrangement



PRESS RELEASE

Supported by Somerset Art Works with funding from Arts Council England

2024 SAW MICRO-COMMISSION
JULY

I've been drawing in yeast strains onto agar in Plus Plates around a Bunsen burner flame (aseptic technique). Three days later, these eerie images emerged of North Hill in Minehead, from the location where Turner sat to sketch the same view. Remarkably, the circle that may be a sun or a moon, is in fact, a bubble.  


2024 SAW MICRO-COMMISSION
Beautiful bubbles! I’ve mastered the art of making coloured agar using food colouring, and a pipette method of controlling the bubbles - now let’s see what might grow in them! Regular photographs will be taken now using the super Colony Cam!



I traced the titles of JMW Turner’s paintings onto agar using various yeast cultures, and from barely visible marks these appeared within three days…exciting!

 

JUNE
SPECIAL DELIVERY
My mycelium has arrived by post! I can now take samples of Artist's Bracket, Turkey Tail, Chicken of the Woods and Birch Polypore - all thanks to Alderbed Mushroom Farm.

Photo: Phyllida Warmington.

My first experiments came out pretty well and informed how I may select colours, form bubbles, and most excitingly, what might grow from within the bubbles! 



ARTIST'S TALK TICKETS ON SALE HERE

Waiting for Petri dishes of artwork to grow takes patience and distraction, so I researched Turner’s ‘Somerset and North Devon Sketchbook’, from 1811 and found that not only had he visited Minehead, but that he had sketched North Hill in 1811!

I located his viewpoint, and headed to the beach to sketch and watercolour. Then I walked into the woods on the hill, taking air-samples, bird recordings, and leaving a few Petri dishes about to see what might grow on their surfaces.

Learning how to colour agar, avoid contamination, prevent bubbles in the Petri dish and how to use an electronic pipette, led to making lots of coloured bubble Petri dishes! Now, how to select colours? How to better control bubbles? How to invite contamination?

Everything I have learnt in my lab induction is feeding into my artwork in the studio and vice versa. I’m also grounding a little more in my local landscape and enjoying getting the bike around! More beach combing, sampling sea water and collecting leaves and flowers from North Hill…

2024 SAW MICRO-COMMISSION ANNOUNCEMENT

I'm delighted to have been awarded the 2024 SAW Micro-Commission to create a new body of work during my Artist Residency at Singer Instruments Lab in Minehead, Somerset!

Bio Art is a method of making art that involves the artist working with biology, live tissues, bacteria, living organisms and life processes. Singer Instruments in Minehead make robotics to accelerate research for biologists making the world a cleaner, greener, healthier place. Their global customer base are harnessing nature, engineering new microbial organisms to tackle some of humanity's greatest challenges.

Singer Instruments use Bio Art to engage with the public and help build understanding and confidence around synthetic biology. I have been appointed  to be their Artist in Residence this summer, to create artwork and curate a group exhibition by artists and scientists exploring Bio Art, such as Finnish Artist Johanna Rotko and Brazilian Lab, Microbioworld.

I am working with Harry Singer, CEO of Singer Instruments who partnered me with scientist Fiona Kemm to make artwork using their laboratory. Responding to the Somerset Art Weeks festival theme of "Flux and Flow", I will examine my relationship with the land, sea, environment and local landscape, by drawing inspiration from the English Romantic artist J.M.W. Turner's observations of Minehead in his 'Somerset and North Devon Sketchbook', from 1811.

Expect to see my interpretation of J.M.W. Turner's landscapes grown from yeast in Petri dishes, E coli spin-art photography, mycelium-inspired photomontages and digital artworks.