Bio Art is a relatively new category of visual art practice that investigates the intersection of bioscience and the visual arts. Materials as complex as DNA molecules, protein strains, living cells, tissue cultures and other animal and plant matter are integral to both the conceptual and practical aspects of the work.

At its base Bio Art both celebrates and critiques biotechnology and its resultant cultural impact. Most often the projects rely on manipulating life processes to achieve their conceptual goals - in its most radical forms, transforming or even creating new living organisms. (One of the earliest examples of this variant, now termed transgenic art, is GFP Bunny, created by one of Bio Art's founders Eduardo Kac in 2000. In this work, Kac introduced a bio-fluorescent gene from a jellyfish to an albino rabbit, thus engineering Alba, a glow-in-the dark bunny that glows bright green under blue light.) While the field has generated its share of controversies - some legitimate and some manufactured or political in nature - artists practicing in this genre typically partner with scientists in both the private and university sectors through open research in order to blur the distinctions between science and art while reflecting on the societal conceptions of biotechnology. Large exhibitions of Bio Art have been staged at major museums across the world.

Trans-Evolution: Examining Bio Art will explore the intersection of science and art, and demonstrate the far-reaching value of science as it relates to other fields. CEPA Gallery will present work by a number of artists who are regarded as, among others, pioneers of the art form. Paul Vanouse (Buffalo, NY), will exhibit his latest body of work, Latent Figure Protocol, a project initiated in 2005 by a NYSCA Individual Artist grant, administered by CEPA Gallery, and completed with a prestigious grant from the Creative Capital Foundation. The CEPA exhibition will be the North American premiere of Latent Figure Protocol, a multi-media installation centered around a live science experiment that manipulates DNA samples to produce unconventional imagery. Oron Catts and Ionat Zurr of the Tissue Culture and Art Project (Perth, Australia) will present 2 works, Victimless Leather and NoArK that document advancements in science by incorporating living tissue cultures in conceptual installations. Elizabeth Demaray (Brooklyn, NY), utilizes her background in cognitive psychology and neuroscience to create artwork that highlights the kind of incongruities and unexpected connections one finds between the named world and the real.

Education and Supplementary Programs

Gallery Tours for School Groups
CEPA Gallery and Just Buffalo Literary Center are pleased to introduce a new component to their multidisciplinary education program Writing with Light, which will provide opportunities for students to expand their visual literacy outside of the classroom with gallery tours available to schools throughout Buffalo. Artists featured in the exhibition as well as trained educators will provide exhibition tours for school groups, followed by interactive activities. CEPA will also schedule events with leaders in the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus and local biotechnology companies, providing students with the opportunity to learn about career options in the medical and biotechnology fields. To schedule a school group gallery visit, contact CEPA Education Director Lauren Tent at (716) 856-2717 or lauren@cepagallery.com.

Gusto at the Gallery

Paul Vanouse will present Latent Figure Protocol at Gusto at the Gallery, Albright-Knox Art Gallery on Friday, December 5, 2008.


CEPA Gallery is proud to recognize two of Buffalo's greatest assets with its presentation of Trans-Evolution: Examining Bio Art: its vibrant arts and cultural community and major presence for the study and advancement of the life sciences and biotechnology. CEPA Gallery thanks the following sponsors:

The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts
New York State Council on the Arts
The Buffalo Niagara Partnership's Life Science Industries Council - Presenting Sponsor
Time Warner Cable, Stephen and Catherine Foley - Patron Sponsors

CEPA Gallery Science Circle: Dr. Stephanie Pincus, Chair, Dr. Gregory Cherr and Dr. Claire Schen, the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute, Inc., and other generous donors

Special thanks to the Buffalo Museum of Science, the State University of New York at Buffalo, Department of Biological Sciences, and Premier Group.