Mairin Hartt: Against the Grain

Friday, Sep 11, 2020 – Jan 24, 2021

1524 N. Lake Shore Dr.
Chicago, IL 60610

In a series of detailed mixed-media drawings referencing microscopic cross-sections of human tissue, Chicago artist Mairin Hartt explores microscopic anatomy and its cooperative role in creating and sustaining the complex organisms that make our existence possible. The focus on cross-sectional cuts of muscle and connective tissue reveal the unique patterns and unorthodox shapes they provide while challenging viewers to think critically about the nature of life itself. Embracing these cross-sections seems contrary to the human body’s instinctive need for self-preservation and the maintenance of the whole; severing a group of muscle fibers to view its connective abilities seems more akin to decay and disorder than life.

Mairin Hartt is a Chicago-native visual artist and arts educator. She received a BFA in Painting and Drawing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2006 and an MFA in Studio Art from University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, in 2011, and an MAAE from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2014. Utilizing various methods and materials, Hartt explores notions of existence, emergence, and entropy in organic forms and processes. Although working primarily in drawing and mixed media, Hartt’s practice also includes printmaking and installation. 

About the "Anatomy in the Gallery" Program: The International Museum of Surgical Science supports a commitment to contemporary art and artists through exhibitions and programs that use the frame of contemporary artistic practice to examine new perspectives in medical surgical science and our relationship to the body. The Museum’s Contemporary Arts Initiative includes rotating exhibitions of contemporary art, as well as an ongoing Artist in Residence program.

About the Museum: The International Museum of Surgical Science, a Division of the International College of Surgeons, was founded in 1954 by Dr. Max Thorek. The Museum is committed to enriching lives by enhancing an appreciation and understanding of the history, development and advances in surgery and related subjects in health and medicine. The Museum is located in Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood, and is housed in a historic lake-shore mansion designed in the early 20th century by Howard Van Doren Shaw. 

Image: Mairin Hartt, Untitled 4 [Against the grain], 2018, Pen and ink on toned paper, 12 x 18 in.