Organics: Exploring the parallels Between Botany and Human Anatomy through Sculpture and Watercolor Painting
Date of Award
Bachelor of Arts
Integrating my two passions of the visual arts and science for my senior thesis, I created a collection of paintings that represent human organs and the parallels between plant biology and animal biology. Genetically, plants are just as complex – if not more – than many animals. They have intricate sensory and regulatory systems highly comparable to humans, and on a cellular level, we share many analogous features. In addition, every single carbon atom that makes up the human body was at one time fixed in a plant during photosynthesis. We also rely on photosynthesis to give us the oxygen we breathe. Embracing these facts, I used plants and flowers to create sculptures of human organs, and then painted the sculptures in watercolor. My work is a step aside from conventional medical illustration and into creative representation. There is a delicate balance in using one specific type of nature to embody a superficially different form of life; this compelled me to take each step of the creative process methodically and with precision. In each sculpture, I focused on mimicking texture and shape of its corresponding human organ in order to create a realistic subject conveyed in painting. I deliberately incorporated shadow to give the impression that the subject is fully tangible. In each painting, I employed fine detail to capture the way that plant and human anatomy are equally sophisticated in structure. It is then left to the viewer’s curiosity: if we are analogous in so many ways, then what exactly characterizes us as human?
Borek, Allison, "Organics: Exploring the parallels Between Botany and Human Anatomy through Sculpture and Watercolor Painting" (2016). Honors Theses. 122.