University of Illinois at Chicago
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Panacea: Reagents, Potions, Elixirs, and Cure-alls

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posted on 2011-01-26, 00:00 authored by Ryan Murray
My research deals with the fusing the ideas, working methods, epistemic rules, and visual symbology of science, mysticism, and pop-culture into art works. In this series, I looked to the histories of alchemy and paint/pigment. The materials of painting, sometimes seductive, disgusting, perplexing, or ecstatic, were isolated and amplified by bottling as “potions”. The spectrum of glassware reaches from antique apothecary bottles to modern Pyrex laboratory equipment. The bottles are titled with terms such as “Potion”, “Elixir”, “Antidote”, “Panacea”, and “Reagent”. Their form and this language calls up various associations to fantasy, fairy tales, alchemy, patent medicines, intoxicants, and chemistry. This hybrid range, from the magical to the scientific, of methods of knowledge-generation and of ways to seek, experience, and uncover “hidden” knowledge is at the core of my research.


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Entry in 2009 in The Image of Research, a competition for students in graduate or professional degree programs at UIC, sponsored by UIC's Graduate College and the University Library. Images of award recipients and honorable mention images on exhibition in the Richard J. Daley Library and the Library of the Health Sciences, April 16-May 12, 2009.

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