Panacea: Reagents, Potions, Elixirs, and Cure-alls
figureposted 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.