GENOMIC PAINTINGS

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MATIN, 2017

In 2010, scientists at the Broad Institute (MIT, Harvard) deciphered the 3-dimensional structure of the HG, calling it a fractal globule. This structure, resembling ramen noodle, a 5 micron x 2 meter strand of DNA, is unknotted so each cell can readily access the segment of DNA required for that particular cell function. Lead scientist Erez Lieberman-Aiden and I discussed how fractal patterns appear throughout nature, and contemporary art such as in Marden’s and Pollock’s paintings. From a distance, my canvases inspired by the HG fractal pattern, are minimalist circles within squares. Upon closer inspection it’s apparent that the circle is not solid, rather, it’s one densely wrought “fractal” line made by a #0 brush. The single line (400 yards in some pieces) follows a meandering, organic journey that, when observed in its entirety, has the effect of conjuring life and planetary forms, energy and the tenacity of evolution.
Like Erez’s investigations, this work comes from the universal longing to understand our origins. But for me, it also comes from a deeply personal place – the mystery of my identity. Adopted as an infant, I know very little about my birth family. A commercial DNA test facilitated a connection with close cousins through its database. While the identity of my biological parents remains unknown, what I find most rewarding is the richness of the exploration, especially through my art.

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Matin (detail)