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 and Student Projects. 122.