Ryan Woodring: Today and Possibly Tomorrow

Opening: Saturday, Sep 10, 2022 2 – 5 pm
Saturday, Sep 10 – Nov 13, 2022

1524 N. Lake Shore Dr.
Chicago, IL 60610

The International Museum of Surgical Science (IMSS) is pleased to present the solo exhibition Today and Possibly Tomorrow by artist Ryan Woodring. The IMSS continues its active role in supporting Chicago and Illinois arts and artists through its Artist in Residency and "Anatomy in the Gallery" rotating contemporary art galleries. Today and Possibly Tomorrow opens on September 6th, 2022, and is on view through November 13, 2022. The Museum will host an opening reception on September 10 from 2-5:00 p.m. that is free and open to the public.

Today and Possibly Tomorrow borrows technical and pragmatic strategies from medical illustration and art therapy to give momentary shape to an undiagnosed, invisible illness. The exhibition features the premiere of an experimental video that uses machine learning and nontraditional image-editing to play with dichotomies of diagnosis, as well as a new series of 3D printed candies interspersed throughout the museum’s collection and gift shop. Each candy’s unique form is derived from a ritualized 3D modeling practice that seeks to visualize the contours of an invisible nausea while experiencing it. Woodring sets forth a methodology for dually recording and excorsising an otherwise all-consuming illness; fostering its temporary coagulation outside the body. Rendering these forms in sugar advertises their potential for reingestion and subsequent dissolve between representational and catalytic agency. 

Harboring an invisible chronic illness the past five years has forced Woodring to contend with his relationship to image production; as his body refuses to perform its ailments not only for the mirror but for the MRIs, endoscopies and other tests specifically designed to draw them out. In a post-artificial intelligence (AI) landscape where image collection hardens medical and other socioeconomic systems towards hegemonic predilection, Woodring is compelled by his body’s furtive miscalibration to use these same technologies to push up against the limits of visual representation. While continued advancements in imaging technologies, many of which are on display at the museum, invite human eyes to scour the forms and processes that make up the human body, the unlocatable experiences that fall outside this optical colonization call for different coaxing and coping strategies. Woodring’s work grapples with notions of visibility and reified selfhood endemic to modern medicine and health narratives; valorizing invisibility and uncertainty as foundations for sustained care for the (unexpected) other brought on by illness. 

"We are thrilled to host Ryan Woodring's solo exhibition, Today and Possibly Tomorrow, which will allow our visitors the opportunity to view an artistic representation of chronic pain and illness. Through the creation of the artist, moving from conception to digital rendering to tangible object, the artist's chronic pain can be experienced through the senses of touch and taste. We hope that visitors take away a renewed understanding and contemplation of chronic pain through this shared experience." - Michelle Rinard, IMSS Curator.