YLEM blog A listing of events and news of YLEM and its members

October 29, 2007

YLEM Forum: Accessing Biology Through Art

Filed under: Forums — Torrey Nommesen @ 12:56 am


Thursday, November 8th at 8 pm

Canessa Gallery
708 Montgomery, upstairs
San Francisco, CA
At the foot of the Transamerica Pyramid, where Montgomery, Columbus and Washington converge, there is a small building that says “Canessa”.
Public parking up the hill on Washington St., at Portsmouth Square and Embarcadero Center.

Open to the public! Free! Doors open at 7:30. Come early and chat!

As this program shows, biology in so many ways is a very visual subject. At the molecular level, this is more of a problem, but one of the speakers, a graduate in microbiology, manages to convey its ideas using vivid paintings that use, on occasion, metaphors from mythology. Learn more about biology in an enjoyable way!


Donna Billick: Paintng murals with science students
Donna Billick, professor of art at UC Davis, will tell how her friendship with an entomologist, Diane Ullman, led to a unique collaboration. Donna Billick, professor of art at Davis, invited her entomologist friend Diane Ullman to help paint on a mural she was doing, and it resulted in a career turn that neither expected. Professor Ullman found out, when she was invited to put insects in Billick’s mural, that she hadn’t really learned what they looked like in great detail. Back to her books to research this! This gave Ullman the idea of teaching beginning entomology in conjunction with Billick’s mural projects. In the course of doing this students also learn some art! This has led to other science professors collaborating with Billick. (Ullman will speak, too, if she is recovered from surgery.)

Julie Newdoll: Paintings based on microbiology
Emotions, states of being, and nature have been personified throughout time by many cultures in the form of various gods, goddesses and mythical characters. Julie Newdoll asks the questions, “Just as Bacchus can represent wine and the state of intoxication, Venus love, and Mars war, what would the personality of a goddess for estrogen be like? What would be her life story? Our imaginations seek to see things in nature in order to make sense of them. We see constellations in the stars and faces in the clouds. What would we see in an electron microscope image if we looked long enough?”
Newdoll’s artwork has been featured on over 20 scientific journal covers in the last few years, and her paintings have been shown in both science and art venues internationally.Newdoll earned a B.A. in microbiology from the University of California at Santa Barbara, and an M.S. in medical illustration from the University of California at San Francisco. You can find her work on the web at www.brushwithscience.com and the Brush with Science Gallery, 3515B Edison Way, Menlo Park, California (650) 440-0084.

Shoshanah Dubiner’s biological images
We will project 11 paintings by Shoshanah Dubiner of Ashland, Oregon, who has been fascinated by biological forms for many decades. After a recent Cell Biology class at Southern Oregon University, Shoshanah is turning her attention to the structures of the living cell, especially the cell membrane. She brings humans into all the landscapes so viewers can imagine themselves more fully in the world of nature. Thus in “Membranes #1,” the cell at the top left is also the head of a woman; the cell membrane becomes the skin that encloses her body; the words issuing from her mouth take on a life of their own, as do all the artifacts of human culture, including artists’ paintings.

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