Here is the second piece I presented at the Women in Bio SciArt event and the story behind it.
Tortured (2017) – 12″ x 12″
Traumatic injury to the central nervous system results in an inhibitory environment. This condition presents a serious challenge for neurons that attempt to regenerate. In addition to inhibitory biochemical signals, a physical barrier called a “glial scar” forms at the injury site. Very few cells succeed in extending their axons beyond the glial scar. In contrast to healthy cells, axons that manage to pass the scar show a very distorted or “tortured” morphology. This phenomenon provides a metaphorical representation of a traumatic life event. People may be able to move forward, but they are no longer the same as before.
As some of you may have read in my recent blog posts, earlier this year I have gone through a rough patch in my life. Although it may not be nearly as serious of a crisis as those others may have faced, it was still a very difficult time for me. It made me feel as if I have lost a part of myself and will no longer be the same. That emotional state made me recall the studies I have done during my graduate school training, where we would induce acute injury to rat optic nerves and then look for a way to promote their regeneration. Some cells regenerated, but the injury had certainly left its mark on them. This piece came from me merging the two experiences.
To see more close up pictures and/or purchase “Tortured” click here.