The International Museum of Surgical Science Presents as a part of the “Anatomy in the Gallery” Exhibition Series:
Mairin Hartt: Against the Grain
September 11, 2020 – January 24, 2021
Against the Grain is an act of fascination with the incomprehensible, the presence of order in a space ever-moving toward entropy.Mairin Hartt
In a series of detailed mixed-media drawings referencing microscopic cross-sections of human tissue, Chicago artist Mairin Hartt explores microscopic anatomy and its cooperative role in creating and sustaining the complex organisms that make our existence possible. The focus on cross-sectional cuts of muscle and connective tissue reveal the unique patterns and unorthodox shapes they provide while challenging viewers to think critically about the nature of life itself. Embracing these cross-sections seems contrary to the human body’s instinctive need for self-preservation and the maintenance of the whole; severing a group of muscle fibers to view its connective abilities seems more akin to decay and disorder than life.
The selective cut-outs within the drawings add a sense of depth while the opaque film imitates the bright white negative space of a microscope. The notable absence of color allows the viewer to see the patterns and shapes without the obvious association to organic matter. Although hatching and cross-hatching creates textures different than those referenced, the meticulous technique and resulting fine lines parallel the infinitesimal precision of cellular and atomic processes.
From Hartt’s perspective, depicting these dynamic structures through a colorless lens may be a subconscious act of self-preservation in light of the human body’s precarious physiological cohesion. This collection represents an attempt to keep a safe distance from the fact that she too is the sum of cellular collaboration. As with all of her work, Against the grain is an act of fascination with the incomprehensible, the presence of order in a space ever-moving toward entropy and disorder. Drawing microscopic forms expresses a desire to understand something so minuscule yet so complex, something that is the basis of our physical being and our collective human existence.
About the Artist:
Mairin Hartt is a Chicago-native visual artist and arts educator. She received a BFA in Painting and Drawing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2006 and an MFA in Studio Art from University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, in 2011, and an MAAE from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2014. Utilizing various methods and materials, Hartt explores notions of existence, emergence, and entropy in organic forms and processes. Although working primarily in drawing and mixed media, Hartt’s practice also includes printmaking and installation.
Hartt’s artwork has been exhibited both nationally and internationally in galleries including the Zhou B. Art Center, the Woman Made Gallery, the Jenkins Johnson Gallery, the Wright Museum of Art, the Inova Art Center, the Burren College of Art, the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts, and as a part of several pop-up and public art installations in Chicago and Atlanta.
Read more at mairinhartt.com
This program is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency.