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Talmadge, James - Biology 101 - 48 x 60 Metallic Acrylics on Canvas

Talmadge, James - Biology 101 - 48 x 60 Metallic Acrylics on Canvas

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BIOLOGY 101: 48 x 60 Metallic Acrylics on Canvas - $17,500

 This is my seventh painting in a series inspired by SEM (Scanning Electron Microscopy) and SRM (Super-Resolution Microscopy) ​images such as the ones published by the Molecular & Cellular Biology Department at Harvard University, with similar results presented online by other leading university labs.

See other artworks here: https://www.talmadgeart.com/biology

For me, the imagery of nanoscience as presented by these biology hubs is a fascinating landscape that is both beautiful and frightening. My works are essentially an interpretation of these various molecular lifeforms that cannot be seen nor appreciated without the aid of ingenious and costly apparatus that exists mainly for scientific exploration.

I've had to sneak in through the back door to take a quick peek at these creatures which essentially rule our physical realm. Some of the most beautiful among them can also turn life-threatening, as when the Islets of Langerhans, a pancreatic cell blessed with a compelling geometry, is tasked with producing insulin to regulate carbohydrates and protein metabolism, until something goes haywire and it stops making enough insulin to control blood glucose levels, which can lead to the onset of diabetes.

The real nano-villans are without a doubt the cancer cells, which are, in my eye, more ominous-looking and aggressive, attacking other innocent cells minding their own business. They can attach themselves to these otherwise healthy entities, discoloring and distorting their natural symmetry with ragged spikes and tangles that you can clearly see are smothering their victims.

You might forgive my anthropomorphizing just a bit here as this is what it looks like to me even if it looks otherwise to those far more knowledgeable in observing these biological processes. This is clearly a life-and-death struggle on any scale.

My first works on this subject were commissioned by my sister, Dr. Karen Talmadge, who coincidentally earned her PhD in molecular biology from Harvard, and her husband, Dr. John Fiddes, who earned his own doctorate in molecular biology from the University of Cambridge. They met at a cloning conference at Stanford, if I recall correctly, and the rest is an amazing history that cannot be told properly in less than a novel-sized essay.

Without their encouragement and patronage I might not have brought this subject as far along as I have. Professionals in the realm of microbiology will note that I have taken interpretive liberties with the look and arrangement of these near-invisible creatures, but it’s not my aim to technically illustrate them but rather to feel inspired and free.