We have the pleasure to exhibit "Multitudes" by Joana Ricou.
Our Self Portrait. The human microbiome.
16 x 16 in (two panels)
Other self. The human microbiome.
65 x 32 in
A tube within a tube
65 x 32 in
65 x 32 in.
+ Press Release
Biology provides us with different perspectives to identify our fragments and re-integrate them. Whitman’s line, “I contain multitudes,” resonates in experience and, increasingly, our scientific understanding of ourselves. We are made of many parts, and many types of parts, that work together in a vibrant cacophony.
This series explores continuity and boundary, ideas which are fundamental to the definition and integrity of our sense of self and individual identity.
Joana Ricou presents Multitudes, an on-line exhibition exploring the multiplicity of the self. We are made of many parts, and many types of parts, organized in many ways at once. In Whitman’s words, we contain multitudes – we are walking cacophonies.
Biology provides us with different perspectives to identify parts of body and mind. We think of the human body (and consequentially of the individual) as a solid whole, neatly separated from the environment by a layer of skin and organized by a central organ. Recent discoveries contradict this, showing that the human body is better understood as a super-organism that includes more non-human than human cells, and that intention and decision making take place and more…
These pieces explore themes of fragmentation and discontinuity in the body, but are completed only when observed, as the viewer’s tendency to seek or project embodiment re-integrates the new-found part.
Ricou’s background in biology cultivated an early interest in how this field challenges our conceptions of the body and self. Findings usually confined to the sphere of science and health are turning out to have psychological, social and existential implications. What does it mean when processes like learning or addiction are found under the microscope? That emotions like fear and psychological constructs like instinct have biological foundations?
Art, including oil painting, has always been a tool for scientists to study and communicate their understanding of the human body. Today, Ricou uses it to explore the present transformation of that understanding.
Joana Ricou studied Biology and Fine Arts at Carnegie Mellon University (2004) and received an MS in Multimedia Arts from Duquesne University (2009). She has participated in exhibitions and conferences in the United States and Portugal. Highlights include the Spiral of Life series where Joana created a new visual synthesis for evolution and created murals for several museums in Pittsburgh, PA including the Carnegie Science Center, the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPQ Aquarium and the Children’s Museum (2009-10) and the Artwalk art show at the Andy Warhol museum also in Pittsburgh, PA. Joana currently lives in Brooklyn, NY.
Selected exhibition history
(In Pittsburgh, PA unless otherwise noted)
BioArt, Museu Nacional de Historia Natural, Portugal (upcoming)
Open Meserole, NY (upcoming)
Eclectic Chaos IIB, Ethical Culture Society of Essex County, NJ (upcoming)
Eclectic Chaos IIA, Valley Settlement House, NJ (upcoming)
10x10 in, Charmingwall, NY, NY
Quiet Room, Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh
Spiral of Life series, Carnegie Science Center, Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium, National Aviary, Phipps Conservatory
Art That Learns, Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh
Evolutionary Art, Make Your Mark
Recent Works, Make Your Mark
Forum Internacional de Investigadores Portugueses VI, Lisboa, Portugal
FemArt, Your Inner Vagabond
Lying Around, Metamorphose
Reflections, 709 Penn Ave
Artwalk, Warhol Museum
CONNECT 3, Breathe Studio - with Allison Hoge
Women’s Work, 709 Liberty Avenue
Angles, ModernFormations - with Stacy Gross
Industrially Nude, Headquarters
Female Art: The Outside, ASH Galleries (solo)
A-HEAD, ASH Galleries
Spring Salon Juried Show, Modern Formations (2nd place)
With Encyclopedia Destructica:
3 Rivers Arts Festival, Best of 2006
Craft Factory, Andy Warhol Museum
Female Art: Out of the Dark, Carnegie Mellon University Center Gallery (solo)
The fundamental “fragment” of the body is the cell…but what happens when an immortal cell transcends its mortal body? This series explores the emerging independent and potentially immortal identity of HeLa cells – still living cultures from 1950’s cancer patient Henrietta Lacks. Over fifty years since Henrietta’s passing, there are more HeLa cells alive today than there ever were in her body. Who is HeLa? Does HeLa want or fear? Is HeLa still human?
These pieces are based on imagery from a Carnegie Mellon University lab. The lines reference the cytoskeleton of each cell. The cytoskeleton is formed and dismantled dynamically and continuously as the cell decides where to move. These works explore this structure as an expression of the cells’ intentions and wants.
HeLa cells searching I
HeLa cells searching II
HeLa cells searching III
HeLa cells searching IV
+ Video Interview