Inspiring and thought-provoking art experiences for the Evergreen community and the Puget Sound region.

Tracing Genetic Inheritance:
Recent Work by Geraldine Ondrizek

October 5 - December 7, 2016

Reception for the Artist: Tuesday October 18, 4 - 6pm

Artist lecture: Wednesday October 19, 11:30am - 1pm, COM Building Recital Hall

mtDNA close up

Detail of mtDNA, 2016, rough-milled and hand-crafted cedar screen, black paint, natural silk and natural dyes, 5’ x 20’

Geraldine Ondrizek has been creating multi-layered, thought-provoking works of art for more than 25 years. She is a deep researcher and collaborator across disciplines, drawing on art, science, history, anthropology, psychology, biology, and so much more. Through her art she addresses issues of identity and relationships, memory and inheritance - on a personal level and on a global scale. Many of her large-scale installations, including the three exhibited here, explore the pursuit of knowledge about genetics, and how this information can lead us toward life-saving discoveries, deeper understanding of the human race, and moral ambiguities.

Tracing Genetic Inheritance brings together three recent installations by Ondrizek. For the earliest, Chromosome Painting Edition II 1-X, Ondrizek transforms scientific renderings often seen in a textbook into 10 foot tall silk panels, lush and luminous, visually enticing us to learn more. Shades of White invites us into a maze of hanging boxes hung near head-height, so we look in and through, seeing ourselves and others veiled by silk dyed in subtle skin tones. The falseness of categorizing by color, alluded to here, is more concretely and ominously spelled out in the artist’s statement, where Ondrizek talks about the history of eugenics. For mtDNA, Ondrizek is inspired by color charts that trace matrilineal descent of peoples, and instead of the hard steel of Shades of White, she uses hand-worked wood supports, referencing screened porches where women could sit and see out but not be seen by people on the other side of the screen. It’s as if the women can see their own contributions to the flow of cultures, but others might not.

Geraldine Ondrizek is a Professor of Art and artist at Reed College in Portland, Oregon. For the last twenty years she has collaborated with genetic and medical researchers to make architectural based installations. She has had over 30 solo exhibitions internationally and is the recipient of several grants including an Individual Artist Fellowship from the Oregon Arts Commission, the Hallie Ford Fellow in the Visual Arts, The Ford Family Foundation, exhibition grants from NASA and the Houston Foundation, UNESCO artist-in-residence, an NEA exhibition support grant, and a Mellon Foundation Art and Science Research Grant. She recently completed an artist-in-residence at Kaiser Wilhelm Archive at The Max Planck Institute in Berlin where she studied the work of Dr. George Geipel and the origins of biometric data. She received her BFA from Carnegie-Mellon University and an MFA from the University of Washington.