Elaine Whittaker ARTIST STATEMENT
Inspired by an aesthetic in which art, science, medicine and ecology intersect, my transdisciplinary art practice considers biology as contemporary art practice. This practice is based principally in installation, sculpture, painting and photo-based digital imagery. My artworks incorporate a range of materials: from the traditional, such as paint, pigment and wax, to the unconventional, such as mosquitoes, salt crystals, cells and live microorganisms.
I explore the forces that make us human, from the foundational processes and materials needed to form an organism, to the microscopic world of cellular ecologies. Within these worlds I also investigate how culture develops and expresses its fear of microbes. I am particularly interested in the growing possibility of pandemics and the emerging, and re-emerging of infectious diseases as our environment becomes even more fragile from globalization and climate change – this unsettling time of contagions and epidemics. Recent artworks have centred on the body as a site of infection, reflecting on narratives of hope and elements of anxiety that are found in popular culture, scientific research, and personal experience.