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  Featured member - Jan'06


Patricia Olynyk

Olynyk Taste.jpe
Cenesthesia: Taste
archival digital print on rag paper: 9'7" x 44", 2005

Sensing Terrains
An Installation by Patricia Olynyk

February 12 – June 16, 2006
at the National Academy of Sciences
2100 C St NW, Rotunda Gallery, Washington, D.C.

Artist’s Reception: March 19, 1 – 2:30 p.m.

Patricia Olynyk juxtaposes triggers of sensation with the sensory system itself. She incorporates her own imagery of the sensory organs of a variety of specimens with photographs of Japanese gardens meant to tickle the senses. 

The exhibition begins with an exploration of “cenesthesia,” or “the general feeling of inhabiting one’s body that arises from multiple stimuli from various bodily organs” (source: Merriam-Webster Medical Dictionary). Using scanning electron micrographs that Olynyk creates herself, this body of work utilizes a variety of specimens, including human corneas (representing sight), wild mouse taste buds and olfactory epithelia (representing taste and smell), guinea pig cochlea (representing sound) and drosophila feet (representing touch). This eclectic array deliberately mixes species to stress that the nature of being sensate is not uniquely human.

Olynyk combines these images with macro photographs of garden spaces from the Kansai Area of Japan that were specifically composed and constructed to “tickle the senses.” So, these works combine images of environments where sensation is triggered with images of the sensory system itself. The resulting pieces evoke notions of hybridity and metamorphosis and offer an interpretation of nature as highly structured and abstracted. Scale appears indeterminate and the images vacillate between seemingly miniaturized and gargantuan worlds; our sense of space, time and dimension become skewed.

The exhibition also includes an interactive and highly evocative soundscape based on recorded sounds primarily from Japanese gardens.

Patricia Olynyk recently completed a one-year fellowship designed to promote innovative teaching, collaborative research and interdisciplinary exchange at The Institute for the Humanities, University of Michigan. She is Associate Professor at University of Michigan’s School of Art & Design and was recently appointed Research Associate Professor at the university’s Life Sciences Institute. Her work has been featured in numerous solo and group exhibitions internationally at venues that include the Brooklyn Museum; the Museo del Corso in Rome; Galleria Grafica and the Saitama Modern Art Museum in Japan; and the American University in Cairo.
   Olynyk Sight.jpe        Olynyk Sound.jpg 

    [left image]
    Cenesthesia: Sight
    archival digital print on rag paper: 9'7" x 44", 2005

    [right image] 
    Cenesthesia: Sound
    archival digital print on rag paper: 9'7" x 44", 2005

    Patricia Olynyk


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