I recently attended the (tail end of the) opening of Jordan Eagles‘ BLOOD WORKS at the International Museum of Surgical Science in Chicago. I also had a chance to chat with the artist about his work. Thanks to Street Anatomy for the heads up!
As a side note, can I just say how awesome medical museums are? Besides the curiosities and trepanned skulls, they just make you glad to be alive NOW and not when those instruments in the case were being used on living human beings without anesthesia and doctors were being ridiculed and exiled for recommending hand washing before delivering babies (i.e. Ignaz Semmelweisz). Three cheers for modern science based medicine!
Eagles’ medium is blood captured in various states, whether it’s saturated into gauze, clotted in dried clumps, still oxygenated and preserved in resin, or combined and interacting with various forms of copper. The works take on the form of painting, but the subject matter is the process of interaction between the “paint”/blood and the material or scaffold that captures it. The pieces become relics of once-living things.
BLOOD DUST is a diptych. The top is dried, aged clumps of various sizes floating in clear resin, from pea-sized down to particles of dust. The bottom panel is dense with dried and aged blood, but glimmers of the underlying copper flicker through.
LIFE FORCE is an example of the qualities of fresh, still oxygenated blood captured and preserved. The forms are dictated by the liquid interaction with resin. Eagles obtains cattle blood fresh from a slaughter house and freezes it to preserve the color.
LFV is blood with heat from a lamp applied, again in resin. This piece appears to have a front and back layer, but the back is actually the image of the front being projected onto the white wall behind. The heated blood becomes a richly textured field of contrasts.
HF1FR2 and HF1HR2 are blood interacting with resin in the process of curing, but with a glittering copper backing.
See the process here:
The ROZE pieces use gauze as a scaffold, whether the blood is dried and clotted on the threads or mixed with powdered copper to form a shimmering lattice against a dark background.
The other room featured projections from overhead projectors of smaller blood works, basically bathing the walls in the textures of dried splatters. It was like walking into a darkroom where some ancient ritual has just taken place.
BLOOD WORKS will run through November 30th at the IMSS, which is also worth visiting in its own right. Other exhibitions are listed below.