Extra Credit: Microbial Worlds

1. Water is Life by Jennifer Moss

This piece really caught my eye and I found it to be really well done. I love that the artist incorporated crude oil into the piece. While the concept behind the art is not wonderful, I think this piece is beautiful and does successfully embody the concept of microorganisms playing a role in oil degradation. Jennifer Moss used a variety of different colors to represent different microbes throughout the spill, with some being more concentrated in certain parts and others being scattered all over. This class has discussed how different microbes play different roles in the midst of an oil spill and I think Moss does a good job of demonstrating that.

2. Mycorrhizae by Gail Priday

This piece is based on the symbiotic relationship between the mycelium of a fungus and the roots of vascular plants. Mycelium help the plants increase their water and nutrient uptake, while the plants provide the fungus with carbohydrates. The piece provides an effective visual, aiding to explain just how interconnected this relationship is. I personally feel this piece is more attractive verbally, as the artist discusses the science in a simplistic, but accurate way, in addition to explaining why he chose this particular topic. Priday says in the statement that it’s a beautiful example for what humanity should strive for, but I don’t see that conveyed in the visual piece. I think it’s a wonderful piece of art, but I read the statement and just did not see it show in the painting. I think if the artist had done something with that idea, incorporated a way for us to learn from it, it would be even better.

3. Connections: Veiled Unveiled by Mariah Henderson and Eric Henderson

This piece touches on the fact many microbes are invisible, even on a microscope, and this is one of the reasons why staining methods are so helpful. We can unveil the formerly veiled microbes because of modern staining techniques (the one mentioned in this piece was crystal violet).  In this class, we have used staining methods to not only see our bacterial isolates, but to also determine a variety of characteristics, including whether they were Gram-Positive or Gram-Negative.

4. What I Would Have Created

Had I been an artist in this show, I probably would have created a piece about the skin microbiome. Assuming I had the skills, I would have liked to have created a painting of the human body, using different colors and shapes to demonstrate that our skin has a wide variety of microorganisms on it, from our feet to our face, due to different temperatures, moisture, etc.