Michael Reedy – EXPULSION Opening Friday, December 14, 2012 in Chicago

Michael Reedy Every Last One

Michael Reedy Don't Worry Baby

For those of you that attended our OBJECTIFY THIS exhibition, you may remember the incredibly stunning work of artist and professor Michael Reedy. His masterful figure drawings exposing their underlying layers of anatomy surrounded with whimsical flare made him a favorite among gallery viewers.

This is your chance to see more work from his stunning series of anatomically themed oil paintings.

EXPULSION revisits the Biblical theme of the expulsion from the Garden of Eden, popular amongst humanist painters in the early Renaissance in part due to the opportunity it provided to display their virtuosity in representing nude male and female forms. An expert draftsman trained in traditional figure drawing, Michael Reedy combines his realistic depictions of Adam and Eve with elements from genres that fall outside the canon of art history—medical illustration and cartooning.

He therefore portrays the first man and woman not only nude, but partially stripped of flesh to reveal their underlying bones, blood vessels, and viscera, as in an anatomical atlas. Displaced from the familiar flora and fauna of Eden, they mourn their loss amidst surreal surroundings of psychedelic spirals, disembodied eyeballs, and grotesque monsters. This discomforting juxtaposition of clinical, naturalistic, and caricatural views of the body underscores the simultaneous absurdity and tragedy of human existence.

OPENING: Friday, December 14, 2012 from 5 pm to 8 pm

EXHIBITION DATES: December 14, 2012 – February 24, 2013

LOCATION: International Museum of Surgical Science 1524 N. Lake Shore Drive  Chicago, IL

RSVP to the opening via Facebook. We will be there!


2 thoughts on “Michael Reedy – EXPULSION Opening Friday, December 14, 2012 in Chicago”

  1. It is posts like this that make me return to this website. I started reading this blog for a class, and have avidly followed its approach to a synthesis anatomy and art some time. This particular post intrigues me, both as a follower of Christian beliefs, and as a student pursuing physical therapy that considers anatomy one of my favorite subjects.
    Reedy’s work here binds these two very disparate fields, and has molded them into pieces that not only blurs the lines between their differences, but also completely removes them from either following. Without being told so, would you have recognized this as a portrait of Adam and Eve? I look particularly to the second piece. Two faceless individuals seem to be the center of attention for a group of cherubs, who although share some human form, are not marred at all to any extent similar to the two faceless individuals. The bodies in focus are so disfigured, that even though there are these angelic figures in the painting, you cannot even tell that it is of religious intent. To me, it parodies the folly of biblical representation, allowing for a completely different approach to how this image is envisioned.
    Secondly, the anatomical figures here are in the least-form of scientific representation. In looking at educational anatomical representations, bodies are usually so indifferent, so plain, so simply presented, as to minimize any sort of subjective consideration. They are to be an objective image of what the human body is, in order to learn. These two figures though, while seemingly very accurate in their partial dissections, are so emotionally charged so as to remove any sense of objective consideration. Reedy forces us to remove our objectivity, and observe the pain that these two faceless individuals face. While we cannot read their expressions, we can feel their bodies, and the simplicity of the artwork drives us to form our own subjective approach to how this artwork drives our passions.
    I applaud this synthesis of artwork, the mysticality of religion, and the lost objectivity of science, and have very much so enjoyed how this artwork changes how medicine and the humanities are welded.

  2. Thank you so much for sharing information about this very interesting exhibit! Michael Reedy’s work does indeed look quite stunning, and his depictions of the body in the style of anatomical atlases are gorgeous. His striving to capture the “discomforting juxtaposition of clinical, naturalistic, and caricatural views of the body underscores the simultaneous absurdity and tragedy of human existence” is well served by his anatomical renderings. After all, the body presented altas makers with a powerful dilemma. How could they depict the body in a way that was both aesthetic and practical?
    Ultimately, the altas was intended to provide a standard view and interpretation of the body by eliminating extraneous details. In the process, the altas creates medical professionals who view the body in terms of the altas, not vice versa, thus giving what Waldby refers to as “medicalized legibility” in her article “Virtual Anatomy: From the Body in the Text to the Body on the Screen.” This imposition of objectivity sought to eliminate diversity in visual renderings of the body and eventually gave way to the use of photographs in medical atlases as examined by Daston and Galison in their article “The Image of Objectivity.”
    With historical and medical contextualization of anatomical depictions of the body in mind, Michael Reedy’s pieces are all the more powerful. In a sense, the moral imperfection of the first man and woman are underscored by their partial renderings in an atlas-like fashion, since this style sought to normalize the body and present it as perfect and whole. The artist manages to invert this line of thought by using an atlas-like style to demonstrate the incomplete nature of the individual in these fascinating pieces.

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