Medical school community's talents on display at seventh annual IUSM Art Exhibit

December 11, 2014

The seventh annual IU School of Medicine Art Exhibition, "Scientific Inquiry, Artistic Expression," kicked off Nov. 21 in the Van Nuys Medical Science building atrium.

The exhibit, which features about 60 works of blown glass, concrete, oil paint, acrylic paint, needlework, photography and wool, will remain on display in the IUPUI Campus Center Cultural Arts Gallery through Jan. 2. A Meet the Artists Reception will take place from 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 18. The exhibits and the reception are open to the public. 

The exhibit showcases the work of the students, staff, faculty and alumni of the IU schools of medicine, nursing, dentistry, public health, and health and rehabilitation sciences; and employees of Roudebush VA Medical Center, Eskenazi Health and IU Health.

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The exhibit was organized by the IUSM Art Committee. Assistance setting up and striking the exhibit was provided by the IUSM Creative Arts Therapy Student Interest Group and Class of 2017.

"I'm always gratified to see that we have so many talented people," said James Brokaw, Ph.D., former director of the IUSM admissions committee and associate professor of anatomy and cell biology. "You can field a very large and talented group of people when you consider the fact that we’re one of the biggest medical schools in the country.

"I try to go every year," he added. "I know several of the artists personally, and I always like to see their work."

Maria Thuruthiyil, a master's student in cellular and integrative biology, was among those who welcomed the opportunity to put her artistic talents on display.

"I was really excited when I first heard about this show," she said. "It means a lot when you have the chance to show off your art, and it's interesting to see everyone's interests in medicine and art overlapping."

An art and biology graduate of St. Mary's College who also has several works on display at the IUPUI Office of Student Involvement at the IUPUI Campus Center, Thuruthiyil often produces works inspired by biology. One of her works at the exhibit, "E-bars," depicts a television holding pattern overlaid with stark outlines of rods and cones in the eye. 

"This whole event's really a venue for expression," said Dakota Thompson, a second-year medical student. “It's a chance to show everyone the talents that we all have; there’s much more to our lives than just becoming doctors.” 

Hannah Wolsiefer, a second-year medical student at IUSM-Bloomington, used the exhibit to display two works of photography.

"I thought, 'Why not?'" she said. "I think it’s great they put something like this on every year, and especially that students and faculty participate."           

Cynthia Booth, a staff member in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, used the exhibit as an opportunity to display several works of wildlife photography, including close-ups of wolves shot at Wolf Park, a wolf behavior research facility in Battle Ground, Ind., near Purdue University.

"People always used to ask me, ‘How do you know how to take pictures?' but I couldn't explain it. They just looked right," she said. “My art is simply looking through the lens of a camera."

To "go in with the pack" at Wolf Park, Booth said photographers are required to get training on wolf behavior before setting foot inside the enclosure. "Through the years I’ve gone in with the wolves seven times," she said. "You howl at them and they howl back. It’s fascinating."

Among the IUSM faculty works on display was an intricately woven jacket by Jeanette McClintick, assistant research professor of biochemistry and molecular biology.

“The jacket was made from all cotton batik fabrics, which remind me of watercolor paintings," said McClintick, who has been sewing since age 10 and completed two jackets and a purse in the past year. "I like being able to wear my creations," she said.

Other works on display, many of which also featured unique mediums, included a painting of a woman’s face with several curled metal rods detailing her hair; abstract blown glass sculptures; a wood-worked fish; cross-stitch; and underwater photography.

"We have a lot of people here with a lot of talents that we don't get to see on a daily basis," said Ben Trefilek, a second-year medical student who was among the volunteers working at the exhibit. "There’s really some incredible artwork."

Nearly 100 exhibit-goers voted for their favorite works. The winners of the IUSM Art Show 2014 People's Choice Awards are:

First place:

  • "Blue Beauty," by Theresa Guise

Second place (tie):

  • "Dragonfly 1," by Howard Edenberg
  • "Tiger Time," by Theresa Guise

Third place (tie):

  • "Victorian Houses," by Jeanne Gleeson
  • "Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia," by Audrey Krause
  • "Iris Festival," by Tim Yates

Kevin Fryling also contributed reporting to this story.