SPLICE: At the Intersection of Art and Medicine


October 24 - December 1, 2012

Guest curated by Nina Czegledy

Co-presented by the University of Toronto Art Centre (UTAC)


Ælab (Stéphane Claude and Gisèle Trudel), Khadija Baker, Jon Baturin, Drew Danielle Belsky, Jack Burman, Jack Butler, Joyce Cutler-Shaw and Eric Fong.

Diana Burgoyne, Rebecca Cairns, Dana Claxton, Orshi Drozdik, Fred Laforge, Catherine Richards, Lisa Steele and Kim Tomczak and Piotr Wyrzykowski.

For more information on the UTAC section of Splice, please click here.

Photos by Toni Hafkenscheid.
Special Events

Opening Reception: Wednesday 24 October, 5 – 9pm
A FREE shuttle departs at 5PM from the corner of McCaul St. and Dundas St. West (just north of OCADU) for the Blackwood and returns for 8pm to Mercer Union (1286 Bloor W., Toronto) for the start of the 7a*11d International Festival of Performance Art Festival.
Performance: Khadija Baker, My little voice can’t lie, 6pm Tuesday 23 October 2012, 6 – 8pm
Opening Reception at UTAC (University of Toront Art Centre)
Performance: Diana Burgoyne, What do you think the mind is?, 7pm

Tuesday 23 October, 12:30 – 1:30pm
Artist Talk: Joyce Cutler Shaw
Sheridan Institute
Annie Smith Arts Centre, Mezzanine 
1430 Trafalgar Road, Oakville, ON

Friday 26 October, 5 – 7pm
Round Table: The Mediated Body
University of Toronto, Bissell Building, Room: 538
140 St. George Street, Toronto
Please join us for a round table discussion moderated by Nina Czegledy with Allison Crawford, Assistant Professor Psychiatry UofT, Prof David A Steinman, Biomedical Simulation UofT and exhibiting artists Jack Butler and Danielle Drew Belsky. In collaboration with Subtle Technologies, ArtSci Salon and KMDI, University of Toronto.

Monday 29 October, 6 – 8pm
Round Table: Illuminating the Body: Grant's Atlas
HSC 140 (The C. Fidani Family Lecture Theatre)
Terrence Donnelly Health Sciences Complex, UTM
University of Toronto Mississauga
3359 Mississauga Rd. N., Mississauga
Please join us for a round table discussion by Professor Anne Agur, Division of Anatomy, Faculty of Medicine, and Associate Professor Dave Mazierski of the Biomedical Communications Program, Institute of Medical Science and University of Toronto Mississauga, Drew Danielle Belsky, artist and Graduate Student at York University in Interdisciplinary Studies. Moderated by Professor Nicholas Woolridge, Biomedical Communications.

Wednesday 7 November, 7 – 9 pm
Video Screening: The Blood Records: written and annotated
(1997, colour and b/w, sound, 52:00).
UTAC art lounge, 15 King's College Circle, Toronto
Q&A to follow with artists Lisa Steele & Kim Tomczak and curator Nina Czegledy.

Thursday 8 November, 7 – 9 pm
Round Table: The Psychic Body
Ryerson Image Centre, Lecture Hall (IMA 307)
330 Gould Street, Toronto
Join us for a discussion with artists Norman White and Jessica Field of the School of Image Arts, Ryerson University, and David Rokeby, the Ryerson Image Centre New Media Artist-in-Residence.

Sunday 11 November, 12 – 5pm
Contemporary Art Bus Tour
Starting with a tour at the University of Toronto Art Centre (15 King's College Circle, University College, North Wing facing Hoskin Avenue) bus departs for the Blackwood Gallery, Doris McCarthy Gallery and then returns downtown for a tour of the Koffler Gallery Off-Site exhibition at 249 Crawford Street.
To reserve a seat, contact the Blackwood Gallery at 905-828-3789 or email blackwoodgallery@utoronto.ca by Friday, November 9 at 4pm.

Thursday 29 November, 7pm
Round Table: Grasping the Body: data, affect and health
University of Toronto, Bissell Building, Room 728
140 St. George Street, Toronto
Join us for a discussion with exhibiting artist Jon Baturin, Professor David. Phillips, Faculty of Information, University of Toronto, and Carlos Rizo.

In the Service of Science: Student Work from the Graduate Program in Biomedical Communications, UTM
Curated by Dave Mazierski and Shelley Wall
23 October  to 1 December, 2012
UTAC art lounge

Exhibition Statement and Brochure

SPLICE: At the Intersection of Art and Medicine presents a scientific gaze at the human body by showcasing traditional anatomical art, complemented and challenged by contemporary artworks. A large-scale public showing of anatomical images by Maria Wishart, Eila Hopper-Ross, Nancy Joy, Dorothy Foster Chubb, Elizabeth Blackstock and Margaret Drummond, selected from the extensive collection of Biomedical Communications, University of Toronto Mississauga and the Division of Anatomy, Faculty of Medicine, is included in the show. These artists utilized their traditional knowledge of art and science to achieve a balance between realistic rendering and an artistic vision of the human body. Lately, contemporary artists have been initiating a fresh discourse by experimenting with a wide range of representations. Today the body is frequently politicized and digitized in order to manipulate, dissect and provoke. 

Through the work of these artists SPLICE: At the Intersection of Art and Medicine addresses how understanding the complexity of the human anatomy requires both a scientific approach and aesthetic interpretation.

- Nina Czegledy, Guest Curator, Blackwood Gallery

To view a PDF version of the SPLICE brochure click here.

Artists at Blackwood Gallery

Dark Room, 2011
Tactile/sound installation

A dark room designed for blackness, tactile sound, the bones, the muscles and nerve network in the body.

In 1996, Stéphane Claude and Gisèle Trudel founded Ælab, an art research unit. Ælab is committed to collaboration, creative dissemination, and innovative use of technologies as ways of thinking and doing that try to bridge the arts and sciences. Their process- oriented investigations creatively engage nature, information and technology as intertwined in the development of ecological awareness.

Jon Baturin
Wellness TOTEM_One, 2001-11
Type C Photomural
15 x 60 inches
Mixed media images in an acrylic medium skin with map pins
12 x 15 inches each

Wellness TOTEM_One was produced as a cathartic response to a series of life or career threatening medical problems. It identifies bodily elements that have been damaged or compromised in some way by one of four specific medical conditions that my body has had to deal with or resolve—or by the totality of these conditions plus the side effects of the "medical solutions" that have been proscribed. The large digitally flayed penis with the scrotumized prostate turns out to be a prescient (and possibly even ironic) foreshadowing of a serious new medical condition, which had not yet been diagnosed.

Jon Baturin has spent over a decade investigating ideological constructs and the formation of dogmatic systems as they relate to notions of Truth. His current work involves collaborative photo-based installations, which deal with the fragility of the human body and the subjective interpretations of both Hope and Loss. Baturin is Associate Professor, Visual Arts, at York University, Toronto.

Drew Danielle Belsky
Fig. 1 : D. Chubb (née Foster) [Here come the White girls], 2012
Ink on paper, acrylic ink on Dura-lar
15 x 22 inches
Anatomical Figures series

Fig. 2 : E. Ross (née Hopper) [How a tree turns, twists, how it grows], 2012
Ink on paper, acrylic ink on Dura-lar
15 x 22 inches
Anatomical Figures series
Fig. 3 : E. Sweezey [She will be able to see everything], 2012
Ink on paper, acrylic ink on Dura-lar
15 x 22 inches
Anatomical Figures series

Anatomical Figures excavates the bodies that produce images of bodies. Drawing on clues and fragments found in the archives of the University of Toronto's Biomedical Communications (BMC) department (formerly called Art as Applied to Medicine) these chimeric portraits re-embody the artists through their work, without delivering any fixed anatomy. Letters, notes, and illustrations housed in the BMC trace a genealogy of medical illustrators in Canada, the majority of who were women, whose access to other aspects of medical and scientific professions were limited. The archives document the evolution of complex relationships—both professional and social—as they worked to develop their skills, implement professional training structures, and obtain recognition as both medical professionals and artists in an environment predisposed to dismiss their work as merely technical. In the process, the illustrators' bodies emerge obliquely—reproductive bodies, aging bodies, social bodies; a hand, a hip, an eye.

Drew is a multidisciplinary artist trained in the U.S., France, and Canada whose work investigates human embodiment and the ways in which bodies interact and shape each other in the social sphere. Ongoing drawing-based works manipulate and disrupt traditional medical illustrations, exploring the surplus of social meanings and fantasies these images generate.

Jack Burman
USA #5, 2003
Archival, limited-edition colour-analog print from a large format negative
51.9 x 63.7 inches
From the collection of the Mutter Museum, in the College of Physicians, Philadelphia.
This preparation is by the anatomist Joseph P.Tunis and dates from the late-19th/early-20th century. It is a very shallow facial section, some 20-25 mm deep, preserved in formalin.

Austria #12, 2004
Archival, limited-edition colour-analog print from a large-format negative
47.2 x 41.3 inches
From the collection of the Anatomy Institute in the University of Vienna.
The image is of an arm/hand preserved by plastination, probably within the past 20 years.

Germany #3, 2008
Archival, limited-edition colour-analog print from a large format negative
47.2 x 41.3 inches
From the collection of the Anatomy Institute in the University of Heidelberg.
This preparation, preserved in formalin, dates (I believe) from the mid-20th century.

Born in Hamilton, Burman lives near Toronto. He has worked at sites across Latin America, Europe, Asia and parts of Africa, from 1986 to the present. Selected solo exhibitions include: Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography (Ottawa); The Palace of Culture (Warsaw); Clint Roenisch (Toronto); Le Mois de la Photo (Montreal). Permanent collection: The National Gallery of Canada. Monograph: The Dead (Toronto: The Magenta Foundation, 2010).

Jack Butler
In the MRI: Coffin and Chrysalis, 2012
Charcoal on paper
50.5 x 28 inches

My anatomical pathology is reduced by MRI to readable 2D scans or maps. By drawing I map my pain and limited movement through imagery. Where and how can these maps - MRI, a medical imaging technology, and drawing, a technology-of-the-hand, overlap to produce visual art at the service of healing? of understanding?

Jack Butler's hybrid practice uses the means and methods of visual art to produce research in two domains—medical science (embryogenesis primary research), and collaborations with Inuit artists (Art & Cold Cash). With degrees in visual art and philosophy, Butler exhibits internationally with work in public and private collections including the National Gallery of Canada.

Joyce Cutler Shaw
What Comes To Mind, 2012     
Mixed media tunnel books (3) with HD Screens (with movies) on wood shelf
16. 5 x 35.75 x 12 inches
Edition 1/3

Three artists tunnel books on a shelf with 7-inch screens inside them, showing moving images of brain scans. This ongoing interdisciplinary project on the brain, and art and neurobiology has already generated a series of drawings and artists' books. The work forms part of a project entitled The Anatomy Lesson (1995- ) incorporating an investigation of the human life cycle from birth and the newborn through aging, dying and death. It combines electronic imagery with the traditional discipline of pen and ink drawing. Drawing is at the heart of this work, as a mode of inquiry, as a way of knowing and as an act of empathy.

Joyce Cutler-Shaw is an artist working with multimedia, including drawings, installations, public projects and artist's books. She has exhibited internationally since 1972. Language images and words-as-image have informed her works from the outset. Her word sculptures range from large iconic SHE and HE in metal to the word SURVIVAL carved in ice, as a melting word poem for public sites, to Namepoems using the repetition of a first name as image.

Eric Fong
Phantom RHO, 2001
Acrylic resin
12.2 x 7.8 x 5.9 inches

Phantom RH0 is part of a series of sculptures that reference the phantom limb phenomenon through absent body parts—hollow spaces within solid blocks of transparent acrylic resin. They were exhibited amongst real anatomical specimens at the Old Operating Theatre & Museum in London in 2001, where the amputation of limbs was one of the most common operations carried out by 19th-century surgeons before the advent of anesthesia and antiseptics; and many of these amputees would have experienced the phantom limb phenomenon.

Eric Fong is a visual artist based in London. He was born in Hong Kong and educated in Canada and the UK, where he gained an MA in Fine Art from Goldsmiths College, University of London. His artwork includes film, photography and sculpture. Informed by his experience as a former medical doctor, Fong’s art practice explores issues relating to identity and difference, the body, health and disability. Fong’s work has been exhibited across the UK and internationally, including EAST International, Norwich; London Group Open and Creekside Open, London; International 3 Gallery and Chinese Arts Centre, Manchester; Gallery 44 Centre for Contemporary Photography, Toronto; Ludwig Museum of Contemporary Art, Budapest; and numerous international short film festivals. Fong was awarded a prize by Victoria Miro at Creekside Open 2007, APT Gallery and a visual arts grant by Arts Council England in 2008. One of his films is in the Arts Council England Collection. For futher details, please visit www.ericfong.com

Khadija Baker
My little voice can't lie, 2011

My little voice can't lie is the title of a silent moment performance by Montreal-based Kurdish artist Khadija Baker. The viewers are invited to hear recorded texts from displaced women. Their stories emanate from speakers embedded at the ends of the performer's braided hair. The sound track is looped, and viewers will actively need to hold the braids in their hands and press the ends of hair to their ears to hear the stories.

Khadija Baker is a multidisciplinary artist who creates installations that combine video, textile and sound. Her work explores social and political themes related to persecution, displacement and memory. She presented her work in summer of 2012 at the 18th Biennale of Sydney, Australia. Khadija was born and educated in the town of Amoude, Syria. She studied Interior Design, receiving a BFA in 1996 and a Master’s degree in 1999 from the University of Damascus, Syria. In 2001, she moved to Montreal and worked as a graphic designer. Currently, she is completing her MFA at Concordia University.

Artists at UTAC

Rebecca Cairns           
Horse Tail, 2012
Untitled, 2012
When she comes around, 2012
Digital C prints
8 x 10 inches each

Rebecca Cairn’s work represents an exploration of isolation and dissociation through a collection of haunting black and white photographs. Her self-portraits delve into the unformed, incomplete and indefinite states of human existence—the fragments between dreaming and waking life. Cairn’s work illustrates feelings of absence and how the body passes through time and space—entangled in what is neither fiction nor reality.

Rebecca Cairns graduated from Humber College in Toronto in May 2011. She is now working in Berlin, Germany. Her work has been featured in several local and international exhibitions, and she recently held her first solo exhibition at Akasha Art Projects in Toronto. 

Dana Claxton   
Paint Up #1, 2010        
C print
Edition of 1 / 4
72 x 72 inches

Paint Up #1 is part of a recent series of striking large-scale color images by Claxton. A close-up of dancer Joseph Paul’s face—painted in ceremonial black, white and red—confronts the viewer, unflinchingly returning our gaze. These works have been described as "imposing images, striking and cool, [which] throw down a challenge to the sterile, nonspiritual, materialistic view of contemporary life."

Vancouver-based artist Dana Claxton is of Hunkpapa Lakota descent. An interdisciplinary artist who works in film, video, photography, installation and performance art, Claxton is an Adjunct Professor at Emily Carr University of Art + Design and a founding director of the Indigenous Media Arts Group in Vancouver. Claxton is part of a generation of First Nations artists who employ strategies of contemporary art to address the impact of history on the present. Since the early 1990s, Claxton has investigated the historical, and continuing, impact of colonialism on Aboriginal cultures in North America. In her work, the artist seeks to deconstruct the ways in which images, philosophies and iconographies of First Nations are formed and commoditized.

Orshi Drozdik 
Manufacturing The Self: Brains on High Heels, 1992-2012

The installation of brains squeezed into elegant high heels marching around incessantly was first presented at the 1992 Sydney Biennale. The bizarre multitude of brains forced into tight shoes, the simple and symbolic meaning, the irony of the work all have a similar effect on the viewer as one of the iconic pieces of surrealism, Meret Oppenheim’s fur-lined cup (Object, 1936): it attracts and alarms at the same time. In the Brains on High Heels the viewer is forced to contemplate normative gender roles as the symbol of male rationalism, the brain, is clad in women’s fashion, thus raising the question why we usually think of the brain as a masculine organ.

Orshi Drozdik is a Hungarian feminist artist, based in New York and Budapest. She concerns herself with the human body, as well as the traditional dichotomy of nature and culture, from the perspective of scientific representation. Embedding herself within various cultural, historical and geographical contexts, Drozdik investigates the ways in which female identity is constructed.

Fred Laforge
Tête, 2010
Charcoal and graphite on paper
9 x 11.4 inches

Laforge describes his work as follows: My practice focuses primarily on the concept of the atypical body. Within my work, therefore, there is a fascination with non-standard morphologies. I am interested in a particular body type that has been subjected to the judgment of value throughout Western culture. In these works, the bodies that are old, disabled or obese are represented for their aesthetic qualities and the visual poetry they emit. I present these bodies in a new light, flushing out the a priori of the real (is a fat body an ugly body?). Additionally, the neutrality of the term “atypical” is indicative of the desire to remove the moral value that is associated with the concepts of Beauty and Ugliness.

Fred Laforge lives and works in Montreal. In 2009 he began a PhD in art at the University of Quebec in Montreal. In 2012, his work was presented at L’œil de Poisson (Quebec) and the SAS Gallery (Montreal). His work was also seen at the Scope fair in New York, Paper 12 in Montreal and the Toronto International Art Fair.

Catherine Richards
L’Intrus, 2012
Interactive installation

The origins of this work explored our state and the fact that we are always ‘plugged in’: the electro-magnetic collusion and collision of our bodies and our new technologies. The work here also acts as a cipher, a figure, looking into our interior bodies. Earlier, we opened our bodies and drew pictures in the light. Now, we use new imaging tools to peer into our invisible insides and retrieve dark images, both hotly fluorescent and ethereal. This work also calls up body/technology issues of heart transplantation. The philosopher Jean-Luc Nancy called his transplanted heart, “the intruder.” Our heart tissue holds a charge, our heartbeat. Pick up this glass heart and it beats.

Catherine Richards' work explores the volatile sense of ourselves as we shift our boundaries—a process in which new information and medical technologies play a starring role. Her work explores our position in these technologies like "jam in the electro-magnetic sandwich." Richards was recently awarded a SSHRC Research/Creation grant and is a professor at the University of Ottawa.


Diana Burgoyne
What do you think the mind is?, 1992-2012

Ten masks suspended from the ceiling face a masked performer. Each mask contains a light sensor, a sound chip with ten seconds of pre-recorded sound and a speaker. As the audience members place the masks in front of their faces, the sound bites are activated. The sound bite within each mask holds a different voice answering the question: "What do you think the mind is?" By gesturing with her hands Diana as the performer activates the recording in her mask, which asks "What, what is it?" Although descriptions of the mind are emitted by the ten masks, the word "mind" is not spoken, prompting the viewer to reflect on the subject being addressed in the sound bites. After Diana has performed the piece she suspends her mask enabling the viewers to activate the sound bite, which asks the question.

Diana Burgoyne refers to herself as an electronic folk artist. Her performances and installations have been exhibited internationally. She was commissioned by Telus Science World to collaborate on a permanent piece, which is exhibited as part of Contraption Corner. She has been the artist in residence at the Surrey Art Gallery's Tech Lab, participated in SCANZ in New Zealand and has just finished a work entitled Audio Quilt as artist in residence at the Roundhouse Community Centre. Burgoyne has also worked with elementary school students doing workshops entitled "Get Wired with Electronics" and has taught a class entitled "Creative Electronics" at Emily Carr University of Art + Design since 1998.

Piotr Wyrzykowski / alias Peter Style
Watch Me, 1996
15.5 min video

Watch Me is a visualization of the transformations of the artist’s body through digitalization into binary code and blocks of sliding pastel colours. Thus he presents his body as a specimen—and in the process the fractured, reflective, spectacular body gains an allegorical potency as the artist makes himself strange and object-like.

Media artist, performer and set designer, Wyrzykowski studied interior architecture and media art. He made his debut as a performer in 1990. In his practice he uses video, photography, internet and sound creating performances, installations, projects in public space, network projects and multimedia plays. Peter is a cofounder and artistic director of CUKT – Central Office of Technical Culture. His work Beta Nassau (1993) is in the collection of MoMA, New York. He lives and works in Gdansk, Kiev and Moscow.

Special screening

Lisa Steele + Kim Tomczak
The Blood Records: written and annotated, 1997
52 min video

Set in a tuberculosis sanatorium in 1944 in the heart of the Canadian prairies, The Blood Records: written and annotated explores the world of a young girl, ill with TB. Struggling to escape her diseased body, her spirit roams freely throughout the long days and nights, reminiscing about her family, fearful of the fate of a beloved older brother who is fighting in The War, missing her native language (French) which is now foreign to her tongue after two years in the English hospital and idolizing the handsome but distant war correspondent who has just been admitted. A haunting tale of disease and loss, the work infuses the irrevocably sad memories of the girl with a hope only possible through survival. Visually compelling, with austere tableaux, the video was shot on location in real sanatoria lending a feeling of inevitability to each scene. It is a tale told within the skin of consciousness.

Lisa Steele + Kim Tomczak have worked exclusively in collaboration since 1983, producing videotapes, performances and photo/text works. They have received numerous grants and awards including the Bell Canada prize for excellence in Video Art, a Toronto Arts Award and in 2005, a Governor General's Award for lifetime achievement in Visual & Media Arts. Major public art commissions include Love Squared, screened on the video board at Yonge & Dundas in Toronto and Watertable, a light and sound installation that marks the original shoreline of Lake Ontario at the foot of historic Fort York.

Installation Photos
Opening Reception

Generously supported by the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council and Manulife Financial.

We would also like to acknowledge the assistance of the Ontario College of Art and Design University, Peter Jones, Greg Judelman, Design with Dialogue,  Antje Budde, Drama Program, University College, Norman White and Jessica Field, Ryerson University, David Rokeby, Lisa Steele and Kim Tomczak, David J. Phillips, University of Toronto, David Steinman, University of Toronto, Allison Crawford, University of Toronto, Jim Ruxton, Subtle Technologies, Roberta Buiani Toronto Arts &Sci Salon, Joseph Ferenbok and KMDI University of Toronto, Nicholas Woolridge at Biomedical Communications (University of Toronto Mississauga), Johanna Householder and the 7a*11d International Festival of Performance Art, Kim Sawchuk at Concordia University, SSHRC and most importantly all the exhibiting artists.