In conjunction with Heidi Norton’s current exhibition, “to Threptikon”, Monique Meloche is pleased to host a conversation between Norton, plant molecular and cell biologist Dr. Kate Warpeha, and artist and biologist Andrew Yang, with moderation by curator Karsten Lund. This dialogue in the gallery will explore intersections between art, science, and the natural world and different perspectives of these fields. Panelists, all of whom are devoted to re-imagining our inherited understanding of-and relationship to-natural life-will lead us through their individual and at times similar outlooks on working and dealing with plants and organic material.
Heidi Norton (American, born 1977, lives Chicago) received her BFA from University of Maryland, Baltimore (1999), her MFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2002), and currently teaches at Northwestern University and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Norton had solo exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art in 2012 and at Northeastern Illinois University Fine Art Center in 2011. Group exhibitions include the Contemporary Museum in Baltimore, University of Buffalo Art Gallery, Chicago Cultural Center, Dominican University Chicago and The Knitting Factory in New York. Norton is developing a major site-specific installation for Elmhurst Art Museum, where she will be the artist-in-residence this summer. Her work is in the collections of the Midwest Photography Project at the Museum of Contemporary Photography, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Joyce Foundation. Her work will be included in Ghost Nature at La Box Gallery, National School of Art in Bourges, France opening on March 26, 2014.
Dr. Kate Warpeha obtained her PhD from University of Illinois and has worked in plant molecular and cell biology and human genetics for the last 20 years. She has worked in the USA and the EU, in Academia in plant-related research, and in Industry in medical and pharmacological research. Her research is currently conducted at UIC, where she is an assistant professor in Biological Sciences in the Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology program. Her primary area of study is in understanding how plant cells detect and respond to environmental signals and environmental change using genetic models to understand relationships within the cell and how the overall plant can change or acclimate in response to its environmental experiences. She also uses plant models for drug discovery and development, targeting new materials in prevention of Alzheimer’s and Cancer in collaboration with colleagues in UIC’s Medical and Pharmacy schools. Dr. Warpeha also explores new ways to acclimate our important crop plants to environmental changes and human needs in the current changing environment.
Andrew Yang works across the disciplines of biology and the visual arts in a variety of forms including primary scientific research, sculptural objects, and zines to explore the dynamics of nature/culture. Yang studied evolutionary biology and the philosophy of science at Duke University, where he received his PhD, and is an MFA candidate at the Lesely University College of Art & Design. He is Associate Professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where teaches courses in biology and the visual culture of science, and is a Research Associate at the Field Museum of Natural History. Yang’s studio work has been included in recent exhibitions in Chicago and Texas as well as internationally at BankART in Yokohama, Japan, and The Worldy House at dOCUMENTA (13) in Kassel, Germany.
Karsten Lund is a Curatorial Assistant at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, where he organized a solo exhibition of Heidi Norton’s work in 2012 as part of their “Chicago Works” series. He was the co-curator of “MCA DNA: Warhol and Marisol”, and worked closely with MCA curators on “The Way of the Shovel: Art as Archeology,” “Homebodies,” and solo shows by Goshka Macuga, Jimmy Robert, and Akram Zaatari. Lund a also a freelance writer, critic, and independent curator and is guest curating an exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Photography (MoCP) sponsored by the Contemporary Arts Council opening July 2014. He received an MA in the Humanities from the University of Chicago in 2007 and a BA in studio art and Creative Writing from Hamilton College in 2003.