Thursday, February 18, 2010

past research: studies in bioethics

Oil on canvas, 2008
Property of UW-Stout Library (5th floor); Funded through Bud and Betty Micheels Student Artist-In-Residence

breif artist statement, 2008:

“When it comes to human biotechnical engineering, only if there is something inherently good or dignified about, say, natural procreation, human finitude, the human life cycle (with its rhythm of rise and fall), and human erotic longing and striving; only if there is something inherently good or dignified about the ways in which we engage the world as spectators and appreciators, as teachers and learners, leaders and followers, agents and makers, lovers and friends, parents and children, and as seekers of our own special excellence and flourishing in whatever arena to which we are called- only then can we begin to see why those aspects of our nature need to be defended. It is for this reason that a richer bioethics will always begin by trying to clarify the human good and aspects of our given humanity that are rightly dear to us, and that biotechnology may serve or threaten.” -Ageless Bodies, Happy Souls, Leon R. Kass

The new science-based ability to remake man after his fantasies extends the boundaries of what it means to be human and questions the nature of human activity and flourishing. Biomedical technology has resulted in gains in health and longevity, which have increased the desire for more. The constant pursuit of betterment leads to questions of perfection: is it attainable or ethical, and how is it defined?

My work has a foundation in bioethics, the ethics of medical and biological research, within cosmetic procedures. The metaphor this creates, perceptions of freedom from the infirmities of age, is reflected in my non-archival paintings. Although cosmetic procedures don’t change the biological makeup, they give the illusion of creating a distance from death.