I have followed the work of Linda Alterwitz for a number of years and watched her evolution as a photographer who seeks to force the norms and create work that is experimental and scientific. Her work is at once painterly, layered, and mysterious. Now living in Las Vegas, she received a MFA from the University of Denver specializing in painting and drawing, but then changed paths to follow a conceptual passion that delves into the fine boundaries of art and science. Linda has exhibited her work throughout the world in group and solo exhibitions, most recently a solo exhibition at Frank Pictures Gallery in Santa Monica, CA. Her work also appears in on the cover (and inside) of the recent issue of Unless You Will Magazine.
The series In-Sight combines science and technology with landscape photography to explore the themes of scientific life and the human spirit. Each photograph blends two distinctly different types of visual information: medical imagery and landscape. P.E.T. scan images of the human body are used as a visual element within each photograph. In this medical imaging process, radioactive material is put into the body in order to capture digital images of the structure and function of specific organs and tissues. In contrast, photographic images of landscapes provide different information, that which is identifiable and exposed at the surface. The transparency of the human form combined with the familiarity of the landscapes in this series is not meant to focus on one’s mortality, but rather to provide more of an understanding of life itself, both literally and metaphorically.
With technology allowing us to see the inner workings of our bodies, we seem to have a better understanding of the biology that propels our being, both in sickness and in health. But what else lies beneath the surface of our flesh? What if experiences and memories are burned into our bodies at a cellular level? When we subject ourselves to technology like a P.E.T. scan, what if information other than just our physical bodies is detected? Will technology someday allow us the ability to visually document our memories, fears, and passions?
In-Sight presents the viewer with the ability to gain deep insight into not only what we are, but also who we are. Our bodies become merely vessels that house a universe of microcosms—the biological microcosms of our various body systems as well as the microcosms of memories and life experiences.
This series illustrates how art and technology are intricately connected. While opposites in so many ways, they must co-exist. Without the landscape imagery, we are left with medical images, cold and impersonal. However, it’s the scientific and technological aspects that help breathe life into our human environment, leaving us with a true reflection of the human spirit, including a reminder of our shared strengths and vulnerabilities.
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Thesis Project: Leah SchretenthalerMay 5th, 2020