The International Museum of Surgical Science Presents:

A horizontal, digital image made in Adobe Illustrator consisting of 12 illustrations of different ogranic candy shapes modeled in a 3D software program called Blender. The candies are arranged in a 3 row, 5 column grid above a dull grey-green background with each candy model nestled in its own square. Below each model is the date that it was originally modeled on. At the top is a light green rectangle with beveled edges and a circus-like red font with a left to right arch that reads the series title “Today and Possibly Tomorrow” with the artist’s name “Ryan Woodring” to the right of it.
Ryan Woodring. Today and Possibly Tomorrow Candy Box Insert Side 1. 2022. Digital Print.

Today and Possibly Tomorrow

By Artist Ryan Woodring

September 6 – November 12, 2022

Opening Reception: September 10, 2022, 2:00PM – 5:00PM Free

A horizontal, shallow depth of field photograph taken with a Canon 7D DSLR camera of seven 3D-printed hard candy sculptures in a random configuration on a white table with a barely distinguishable horizon line slightly below the center of the image where the table meets the wall. Each candy is roughly the volume of a large gumball and has its own organic shape and intense color, making some of them look like small organs ready to be transplanted and others like colorful gemstones. Only one candy with multiple tentacles sitting in the center of the table is in focus while one candy in the foreground is extremely out of the focus.
Ryan Woodring. Documentation: Today and Possibly Tomorrow. 2022. 3D Printed Candy.

Today and Possibly Tomorrow borrows technical and pragmatic strategies from medical illustration and art therapy to give momentary shape to an undiagnosed, invisible illness. The exhibition features the premiere of an experimental video that uses machine learning and nontraditional image-editing to play with dichotomies of diagnosis, as well as a new series of 3D printed candies interspersed throughout the museum’s collection and gift shop. Each candy’s unique form is derived from a ritualized 3D modeling practice that seeks to visualize the contours of an invisible nausea while experiencing it. Woodring sets forth a methodology for dually recording and excorsising an otherwise all-consuming illness; fostering its temporary coagulation outside the body. Rendering these forms in sugar advertises their potential for reingestion and subsequent dissolve between representational and catalytic agency. 

Harboring an invisible chronic illness the past five years has forced Woodring to contend with his relationship to image production; as his body refuses to perform its ailments not only for the mirror but for the MRIs, endoscopies and other tests specifically designed to draw them out. In a post-artificial intelligence (AI) landscape where image collection hardens medical and other socioeconomic systems towards hegemonic predilection, Woodring is compelled by his body’s furtive miscalibration to use these same technologies to push up against the limits of visual representation. While continued advancements in imaging technologies, many of which are on display at the museum, invite human eyes to scour the forms and processes that make up the human body, the unlocatable experiences that fall outside this optical colonization call for different coaxing and coping strategies. Woodring’s work grapples with notions of visibility and reified selfhood endemic to modern medicine and health narratives; valorizing invisibility and uncertainty as foundations for sustained care for the (unexpected) other brought on by illness. 

Ryan Woodring is an internationally-exhibiting artist with over a decade of experience as a visual effects compositor and supervisor helping to realize award-winning moving image projects such as House of Cards, Kubo & the Two Strings, and the independently-produced The Treadmill. Woodring earned his MFA in Fine Arts at Rutgers University and is currently Assistant Professor of Digital Studies at Drew University, New Jersey, with previous appointments at Syracuse University, Pacific Northwest College of Arts and Open Signal Community Media Center. With grant support from the Andy Warhol Foundation he co-founded and directed three years of a free low-residency in Portland, Oregon that generated enduring mentor-based relationships. Woodring has exhibited and spoken nationally and internationally; including the 2016 Portland Biennial, the Cooley Gallery at Reed College and Video Vortex Malta. He lives and naps in Queens, New York.

A medium close up portrait length photograph of artist Ryan Woodring with a slight concealed tooth grin wearing a pink hat and gray shirt while sitting outdoors eating lunch with his family.
Ryan Woodring


About the Contemporary Arts Program: The International Museum of Surgical Science supports a commitment to contemporary art and artists through exhibitions and programs that use the frame of contemporary artistic practice to examine new perspectives in medical-surgical science and our relationship to the body. The Museum’s Contemporary Arts Initiative includes rotating exhibitions of contemporary art, as well as an ongoing Artist in Residence program.

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