Michelle Davison was born and raised in California. A pervasive sense of wonder for living things has been a strong motivating force in her life, leading her in seemingly opposite directions: on one hand, a love of scientific discovery, and the other, creative expression. In her quest to combine her two interests, she founded a global online art shop in 2009, Arteriole, specializing in botanical wedding certificates, received a Ph.D in Biology from Stanford University in 2013, and is currently a Postdoctoral researcher in the Bhaya Lab. She has been a mentor for the California College of Arts Biodesign class two semesters running, and hopes to forge a career combining her two loves in the not-so-distant future.
Drawn from Experiments
Scientific inquiry follows a strict methodology. An initial question results in amassing of evidence to prove or disprove an idea: experiments are designed, repeated, and conclusions are made. As the result of this rigorous scienti fic training, my artistic process also draws from experiments. An initial observation, theme, or motif reappears, as it is re-imagined in the light of new discovery. The process of experimentation itself becomes an end result worthy of pursuit. Unfettered by the rigidity of proof, documented outcomes are not inhibited by preconceived labels such as “unexpected”, “inconclusive”, or “significant”. Results are given equal merit, irrespective of any external perceived value, as they inform and direct the next experiments.
In this collection, the unseen comes to light in a myriad of techniques, from tactile to sophisticated imaging technologies. Success and failure are documented in characterizing a new microorganism, where an in-depth portrait remains enigmatic. The “Golden Standard” of genetic relatedness is depicted as both archaic and precious, in the light of recent advances in genome manip ulation, which may render inheritance as obsolete as an illuminated vellum page. Lastly, a spectrum of invisible interactions between individuals to ensure species survival is documented in realistic detail.