BA(Hons) Drawing student illustrates oesophago-gastric anastomosis technique for Derriford Hospital

Second year BA(Hons) Drawing student Hannah Berrisford has completed work with the oesophago-gastric surgery team at Derriford Hospital, Plymouth, resulting in a series of illustrations to help the team demonstrate an improved anastomotic technique developed at the hospital.

Hannah was approached to draw a few frames to help illustrate the new procedure and, already interested in medical illustration, Hannah felt this would be a good opportunity to see what was involved in that discipline.

Much of what turned into quite a lengthy project, involved working at distance, from Falmouth, with a Consultant Oesophago-gastric Surgeon in Exeter, sharing screens over WebEx, and using a Wacom tablet to make digital drawings, something that Hannah hadn’t felt was her forte. She worked with the surgeons using WebEx to modify the drawings as they understood their technique in more detail. Of the experience, Hannah says, ‘I  learned that communication with the commissioner is a vital part of the working process’.

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Hannah’s drawings have already formed part of a presentation given by the team at the International Society for Diseases of the Esophagus in Singapore, which included surgeons from Australia and the Unites States who are interested in adopting the new technique. Her clear illustrations enabled animation through PowerPoint, which showed the process without irrelevant details that inevitably form part of video.

A Consultant Oesophago-gastric Surgeon at Derriford Hospital wrote to Hannah to say ‘Thank you so much for the fantastic illustrations…Thank you for your patience in working alongside us (a team of five surgeons, who have all had input to your illustrations) to produce really excellent illustrations of a difficult three dimensional procedure’.

Of medical illustration, Hannah notes, ‘An understanding of the body is important. Had I not watched the operation on video, I wouldn’t have been able to understand why I was drawing certain things, which would have meant the project would have failed. It was a good learning experience’.

The final iteration of Hannah’s drawing will be published with the team’s paper, which is about to be submitted to the Journal ‘Diseases of the Esophagus’, an international journal with an impact factor of 2.15, cited 2370 times last year.

 

Falmouth School of Art Guest Speakers announced for spring 2017

The Falmouth School of Art Guest Speaker Programme resumes in February with a series of events featuring acclaimed artists and illustrators…

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Artist Joey Holder starts the season with a talk on 8 February. Working with scientific and technical experts, Holder makes immersive, multi-media installations that explore the limits of the human and how we experience non-human, natural and technological forms. Mixing elements of biology, nanotechnology and natural history against computer programme interfaces, screen savers and measuring devices, she suggests the impermanence and inter-changeability of these apparently contrasting and oppositional worlds: ‘everything is a mutant and a hybrid’. For a recent exhibition – against the backdrop of the emergent field of computational biology and the Google Genomics project – Holder invented ‘Ophiux’, a speculative pharmaceutical company, imagining its use of genetic sequencing equipment and biological machines to collect data from humans and to sample data from other organisms. She explains: ‘It seems as if everything has become a branch of computer science, even our own bodies probed, imaged, modelled and mapped: re-drawn as digital information’.

On 15 February artist Chantal Joffe will be in conversation with Falmouth School of Art’s Director Dr. Ginny Button. Joffe’s figurative paintings usually depict women or girls, from catwalk models, porn actresses and literary heroines to mothers, children and loved ones. Her paintings question expectations of what a feminist art might be, often pointing to how appearances are constructed – whether in a fashion magazine or the family album – and to the choreography of display. Sometimes shown in groups but recently in iconic portraits, her images of women draw loosely on a range of sources such as photographs, magazines and even reflections in the mirror, using distortion to make her subjects seem more real. Her paintings achieve a psychological and emotional force, prompting reflection on ever-changing human relations and the endless complexity of looking.

1 March sees a return to Falmouth of Illustrator, author and Falmouth Honorary Fellow Posy Simmonds. Simmonds’ work includes many books for adults and children, including Literary LifeLulu and the Flying Babies and Fred, the film of which was nominated for an Oscar. Working across a range of formats and contexts, Simmonds is probably best-known for her series of weekly cartoon strips commissioned by the Guardian since 1977. Gemma Bovery, her reworking of Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary into a satirical tale of English expatriates in France appeared first in the Guardian before publication as a graphic novel in 1999. Acclaimed by the critics for its wit and wickedly sharp observation, it was made into a feature film in 2014. Her prize-winning graphic novel Tamara Drewe also became a very successful film, directed by Stephen Frears.

Falmouth School of Art’s new Visiting Professor of Illustration delivers his inaugural lecture on 22 March. Graham Rawle is an internationally admired writer and collage artist whose visual work incorporates illustration, design, photography and installation. He has produced regular series for The Observer, The Sunday Telegraph Magazine and The Times and among his published books are The Card, The Wonder Book of Fun, Lying Doggo, and Diary of an Amateur Photographer. His collaged novel Woman’s World, created entirely from fragments of found text clipped from vintage women’s magazines won wide critical acclaim, described by The Times as ‘a work of genius…the most wildly original novel produced in this country in the past decade.’ He is perhaps best known to some for his long running ‘Lost Consonants’ strip, which first appeared in the Guardian in 1990.

We finish the 2016-17 Guest Speaker Programme with a TateTalk at Falmouth by Fine Art alumna (2001) Jessica Warboys. Warboys works across painting, performance, film and sculpture. Her talk is in association with Tate St. Ives, which in March will present a major solo show of Warboys’ work. The show will feature films, sculptures, large scale paintings, and Sea Paintings commissioned for the show and created along the Cornish coast. In her Sea Paintings, Warboys explores the connection between painting and performance, submerging damp, folded canvas scattered with coloured pigments into the sea, and allowing the movement of the waves to ‘paint’ the canvas.  Her work is informed by personal or collective memories – hystorical, mythical or fictional. Warboys currently lives and works in Suffolk and Berlin and has enjoyed wide international exhibition success, including solo exhibitions. Her work was recently included in British Art Show 8.

Registration is required for these events, and is open now: http://falmouthschoolofart.eventbrite.co.uk

See all Falmouth University events on our website: www.falmouth.ac.uk/events

Gemma Anderson workshop: The Big Draw at the Royal Society

royal-society-big-draw

BA(Hons) Drawing Lecturer Gemma Anderson will be delivering a free Isomorphology drawing workshop at the Royal Society Saturday 22 October, for an event as part of The Big Draw.

The Big Draw at the Royal Society event brings together art and science in a series of workshops and activities.

Read more about the event online here and here.

 

‘Take drawing seriously as mode of enquiry’ – Gemma Anderson in British Council VOICES Magazine

Published by the British Council VOICES Magazine, full article here: https://www.britishcouncil.org/voices-magazine/gemma-anderson-take-drawing-seriously-mode-enquiry 

Gemma Anderson

By Gemma Anderson

Does art simply represent the world ‘as it is’, or does it find other aspects in it, aspects that people wouldn’t normally detect? Gemma Anderson, who creates art in collaboration with scientists, explains why it is possible to be more than an illustrator when drawing and painting the world.

You use the term ‘isomorphology’ in relation to your work. What does it mean?

I created the term, based on the Greek isos, meaning same, morphe meaning form, and logos, meaning study.

In my drawing practice, I had started to see similarities in shapes repeated across the natural world. I noticed that certain sets of patterns recur in the animal, vegetable and mineral kingdoms, but I couldn’t find anything that documented these relationships. I realised that, as an artist, I could visualise relationships in a way that would be more difficult for scientists, because their work is so specialised.

What sort of patterns crop up again in nature?

There are several, including spirals, hexagons, different forms of symmetries, spheres, and branching forms.

For example, you might see a spiral in a snail’s shell or in an ammonite fossil. Practically all plants have a spiralling leaf pattern, or phyllotaxis (the scientific term for the arrangement of leaves on a stem).  And in the animal world, you see spiral forms in sharks’ egg cases. Even in humans, our heart valves and the cochlea in our inner ears are spiral-shaped.

Why do these patterns repeat?

Scientists and mathematicians talk a lot about this, and there are a lot of answers. But the main reason is that they are efficient. These forms all use space really well. They just allow matter to pack together in a smart way, that also happens to be beautiful.

Which other artists have inspired you?

I interpret a lot of the artist Paul Klee‘s work as a creative study of form that makes unconventional relationships between natural phenomena, which are usually organised separately. For example, in the work ‘Comedy‘ (1921) he draws plant and animal forms together into one body.

I’m also inspired by the German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, who was a polymath and engaged with lots of scientists, although his work wasn’t visual art. His observations about plants were genuinely helpful to botanical scientists.

Are there similarities between the way scientists and artists approach their work?

Both scientists and artists are interested in the study of form. When I started, my expectations were that scientists spend most of their time observing things. I’ve since discovered that much scientific observation is less directly involved with examining the material of the natural world, and more involved with data and modelling. But the process of enquiry does cross over.

How do you work with scientists?

While studying at the Royal College of Art between 2005 and 2007, I began to contact the people who managed the scientific collections at museums and set up meetings where I would ask them if I could draw, say, a certain coral in their collection. At first, only about one person in ten would respond to my emails, so I had to follow up and be persistent. Slowly, I built up relationships with individual curators, who gave me space to draw; and eventually, we became friends. A lot of the relationship is about trust. They don’t have it written into their jobs that they have to help artists, so they are free to ignore your requests.

What’s the difference between your artwork and the sort of scientific illustrations one might see in a textbook?

Traditionally, the pattern is that there’s a scientist and an illustrator who is employed to represent the science. I am using drawing to ‘find’ repetitions in nature. So, although the etchings and drawings may look similar, the motivation behind my work and the questions I’m asking are different. My art represents my own understanding of the natural world, which comes from drawing. It’s qualitative. It isn’t representing a scientist’s understanding, which might come from other more quantitative methods, like DNA barcoding (a way to identify species).

How did you start?

In school, I was keen on drawing and also really liked science. I did biology and art at A-level, and enjoyed the process of mapping structures in each discipline. But learning biology through a textbook wasn’t the way I wanted to do it. Over time, through drawing in scientific collections, I was exposed to a vast range of objects in the animal, mineral and vegetable world, and that’s when I started seeing repeated patterns.

What advice would you give teachers?

Take drawing seriously as a mode of enquiry. Encourage your students to look closely at different examples of plants in the classroom, and they may start to genuinely see the five-fold symmetry or spiralling leaves of a particular flower. Don’t underestimate drawing as a way of learning and making comparisons.

For example, if you look at crystals and insects, there are symmetries in their forms: both have types of bilateral and four-fold symmetry. Crystals are more geometric, and insects are less symmetrical, of course; in real life, you only get the endless variations on these patterns. You never see quite what you expect and that’s part of the fun.

What advice would you give young artists?

I always say to my art students, try to exercise initiative. And if you want to find something out, ask! Don’t fear looking silly. There have been lots of times when I’ve been following a particular line of enquiry that might seem obvious, but not knowing is part of the process. It’s important to ask unconventional questions.

Also, use the freedom to enter lots of different disciplines that comes with being an artist. In most of society, it’s difficult to step outside the normal pattern of your work, but artists can. It’s a rarity that is available to us.

Conrad Shawcross – Guest Speaker, 2 December

Falmouth School of Art is delighted to welcome Conrad Shawcross to give the final School of Art Lecture this term, on Wednesday 2 December, Lecture Theatre 1, Falmouth Campus. Please note the earlier than usual 2pm start, and book your place by clicking this link.

The Dappled Light of the Sun, by Conrad Shawcross, 2015. Weathering steel, dimensions variable. Installation view at Chatsworth House. Photography © Sotheby's

The Dappled Light of the Sun, by Conrad Shawcross, 2015. Weathering steel, dimensions variable. Installation view at Chatsworth House. Photography © Sotheby’s

Born in London in 1977, Conrad Shawcross studied at the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art, Oxford, and the Slade School of Art, London.  Drawing on his fascination with technologies and natural forces, with geometry, philosophy, physics and metaphysics, his machine-like sculptures often combine the appearance scientific rationality with a mysterious and sometimes melancholic ambiguity. Attracted by failed quests for knowledge, he likes to appropriate redundant theories to create ambitious structural and mechanical montages, using a wide variety of materials and media.

A number of his works pay tribute to great pioneers and analysts, and consider specific historical moments. For example, Paradigm (Ode to the Difference Engine), 2006 references the life of Charles Babbage, Space Trumpet, 2007 is inspired by the history of early acoustic mapping, while Slow Arc Inside a Cube, 2008 was inspired by scientist Dorothy Hodgkin’s discovery of the structure of pig insulin. More recently, Shawcross has developed the scale of his practice, taking on architectural spaces with work that combines epic scope and poetic grace.

He has been the recipient of many residencies, awards and commissions, and has exhibited widely nationally and internationally. For example, he was Artist in Residence at the Science Museum, London (2009 – 2011), collaborated with the National Gallery and Royal Ballet for the Cultural Olympiad (2012) and exhibited at the ARTMIA Foundation, Beijing (2014). In 2015 in London alone he produced a new series of permanent sculpture for Dulwich Park and a site-specific installation for the Royal Academy’s Annenberg Courtyard.

Reconstructing palaeo-invertebrata

A specific practice-based research project by Professor Alan Male, Emeritus Professor, is being advanced in collaboration with the Natural History Museum in London. It involves the analysis and visual reconstruction of palaeo-invertebrata, species recently discovered or evaluated and never previously illustrated. The imagery contributes significantly to new knowledge related to evolution and the origins of life in the universe.

(c) Professor Alan Male

(c) Professor Alan Male

The case study shown here is the first illustration of so-far unidentified microscopic zooplankton, analysed from the observation of particles and sediments from a sea-bed fauna-bearing ecosystem, dredged from the deepest known part of the North Atlantic Ocean by the HMS Challenger expedition of 1873. At the time, scientists believed there to be no life on the ocean bed. Species shown are representative Forimanifera; crustaceans, copepods, isopods.

The original illustration artworks are to form part of an exhibition at the Yale Art Gallery, USA and to be published in National Geographic.

 

How Drawing is bringing art and science together

We enjoyed THIS POST on The Big Draw website, by Tate St. Ives’ Kenna Hernly, about the recent launch of the Cornwall Morphology and Drawing Centre (CMADC) at CAST in Helston.

CMADC is the project of Falmouth School of Art Associate Lecturer Gemma Anderson, and a group of Falmouth BA(Hons) Drawing students attended the launch.

CMADC launch