Tanya Gill

Spring 2023

Artist Tanya Gill

“I am a multidisciplinary artist who creates paintings, drawings, sculptures, textiles and video. The work explores themes of adaptation, mending and loss. Material investigation is central to my practice; I am invested in material properties, inherent meanings, and context. I constructively play with material limits and combinations, drawing out new meanings.

Responding to continual change, and transformation in ourselves, and our world, is at the center of my practice. The work explores our human cycle of harm and repair and uncertainty of outcomes. It speaks to our human optimism, but also our failures. A tender attempt to recreate the legs of a broken figurine horse, or repainting a crumpled and damaged image, demonstrates love and determination. However, in the end the attempt falls short. Once broken we/things are never the same. At the same time, becoming broken is inevitable and does not negate wholeness.

A main catalyst in my work is my own health. I have a chronic blood condition which leaves me with a heightened sense of the precarious. I have, and will in the future, suddenly need to drastically change or abort plans due to my condition. This sense of living in precarity is by no means unique to me, it is a part of our collective story. We all experience traumatic events which change our course, demanding that we remake ourselves. I am interested in visualizing how the moment we are called to change feels, and what mending the pieces back together might look like.

In all my work I strive to make a space in which we can feel and recognize parts of our collective story. A space where we catch glimpses of our ability to mend, adapt and absorb change.”

-Tanya Gill, 2022

The International Museum of Surgical Science is a beautiful manifestation of the interconnectedness between medicine and art. The murals, paintings, photographs, and sculptures throughout the museum demonstrate tools utilized by both professions to further understand the human body and its divergences.


IMSS is a rich environment for deepening my artistic practice, and for creating a platform for connection around healing. I know that the work completed while at IMSS will not stop at the conclusion of the residency, but will continue to inform my art practice for years to come. IMSS is the perfect place to further develop and implement Mend, allowing us to reflect on universal ideas of mending, restoration and adaptation together. 

-Tanya Gill, IMSS Artist in Resident

Learn more about the Artist:


About the Residency Program: As artistic practice occupies an increasingly pluralistic field, The International Museum of Surgical Science believes that artists are uniquely equipped to extrapolate on Museum collections in innovative ways and introduce novel perspectives to the institutional depiction of medical history. The IMSS Artist Residency Program provides working artists with:

  • Access to the Museum’s extensive collections and archive
  • Visibility on the Museum’s website and social media channels
  • A month-long capstone Solo Exhibition (or equivalent presentation) at the Museum

This project is partially supported by a CityArts Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events.

The International Museum of Surgical Science acknowledges support from the Illinois Arts Council Agency.

Header Image: Mend (Horses), Found Figurine and Woven Thread, 3.5 x 6 x 3 inches, 2021