This article was published on the Art & Science Journal blog in January 2014. For a link to the post, click here. If you haven’t seen Art & Science Journal yet, go check it out – it’s a great demonstration of how the visual arts capture the wonder of science, and how science inspires innovative artwork.
The art of science is in full bloom in the multimedia drawings of Vesna Jovanovic. Jovanovic, a visual artist based in Chicago, creates mysterious and complex images in which human organs, plants, and other organic shapes emerge out of abstract inky pools. Invoking the phenomenon of pareidolia, or the perception of meaningful forms from random stimuli (think Rorschach blots), Jovanovic typically begins her drawings by spilling ink on various 2-D media, including paper and Yupo (a polypropylene-based paper). In response to the shapes created by the ink, she draws in new elements to create a detailed and cohesive composition: cilia-like hairs sprout from shadowy watermarks; intestine-like tubes snake around a rivulet of ink; dividing cells blossom out of blotchy, reddish stains.
Overall, Jovanovic’s work reflects her interest in the broader question of what it means to have a body in an age of dizzying technological advancement and scientific discovery. Her work is a striking montage of the physical and the ephemeral: far from traditional medical illustration, Jovanovic’s compositions are thoughtful and poetic reflections on our relationship with nature and the human form.
Given her background in both visual art and chemistry, Jovanovic’s fascination with the intersection of art and science seems a natural fit. In addition to informing her drawings, her interest in science has tinged other aspects of her work, including her photography and ceramics practices. Vesna Jovanovic is currently completing a residency at the International Museum of Surgical Science in Chicago. To see more of her work, go to her website , and her fascinating blog, Traces.