Zona in Vitro
Zona Pellucida – Zona Lucida
Zona Pelucida is a work in three parts, created for the Exhibition Lens on Life that was developed out of a series of conversations with Melina Schuh, Group Leader in the Laboratory of Molecular Biology, MRC Cambridge. Schuh investigates meiosis in mammalian oocytes, eggs prior to fertilization, the beginning of life. Surrounding the egg is the zona pellucida, a membrane that binds spermatozoa. As with life, so it is with art, the moment of creation is triggered by chance and fertile observations.
The genesis for the work Zona Pellucida was a series of drawings in which a dot of ink mixed with dye moves out across the paper surface until its stained cellular form is revealed by the action of water being washed across it. Working with glassmaker Stewart Hearn, the drawings became templates for Zona in Vitro, a collection of blown glass cellular forms. Like imperfect lenses, floating on a glass table, light penetrates the traces of colour in the glass to cast fleeting veils across the surface of a table.
The final part of the work Zona Pellucida – Zona Lucida, a video of light and form, reveals an interplay between the drawings, images of the molten glass being shaped, light projected through the cooled glass, all overlaid with Scuh’s images of oocytes stained with fluorescing proteins. The video implies an alchemical synthesis in which the work of the artist and scientist is rendered visible.
Zona Pellucida / Zona Lucida (vimeo)