Sunday, November 15, 2015

Santiago Ramón y Cajal: A symposium honoring the father of modern neuroscience

It was a great privilege to be invited to participate as a speaker at the first collaborative symposium between the NIH and the Instituto Cajal celebrating the father of modern neuroscience Santiago Ramón y Cajal. So much gratitude to Dr. Jeffery Diamond for organizing the speakers and inviting me to present. What a privilege to meet so many great scientists. I am truly honored and my artistic practice enriched.  

For my presentation, Bequeathed Aesthetics: the origins of Santiago Ramón y Cajal's artistic perceptions,  I traced the aesthetic origins of Cajal's scientific drawings.  I examined his childhood experiences and his deep connection as a youth to the novel Don Quixote, and how that novel was seminal in its imagery, romanticism, individuality and philosophy to Cajal's discovery and perception of the neuron as an individual unit.  Through a comparison of Cajal's early landscape drawings to the work of Goya's sensibility, I then further connected Cajal's artistic and specific perceptual influence to the great master - an artist who was from the same region of Spain as Cajal.

Below, title page from my presentation, featuring an image I designed contextualizing Cajal and his neurons in a surreal narrative with Don Quixote de la Mancha, Goya and Picasso:  

It was also an honor to have my artwork selected for the poster publicizing the event and to have my artwork displayed in the John Porter Neuroscience Research Center next to the scientific drawings created by Santiago Ramón y Cajal.

Pinch me, I may not be awake!

All of the presenters were honored with an invitation to a special reception celebrating the event at the Spanish Ambassador's, Ramón Gil-Casares, home.  It was a wonderful ending to a wonderful week.
Front row left to right:
Ana Elorza Moreno, Dr. Teresa Nieves Chinchilla, Dr. Rafael Yuste, Dr. Story Landis, Spanish Spanish Ambassador Ramón Gil-Casares, Dr. Laura Lopez-Mascaraque, Rebecca Kamen, Dr. Susana Martínez Conde, Dr. Bibi Bielekova

Second row, left to right:
Dr. Heather Cameron, Dr. Leo Belluscio, next unknown, Dawn Hunter, Dr. Jeff Diamond, Dr. Walter Koroshetz, Dr. Juan de Carlos, Dr. Chris McBain, Dr. José Luis Trejo, Dr. Alan Koretsky, and Dr. Fernando de Castro

Below are photos documenting the Cajal exhibition currently on display at the John Porter Neuroscience Research Center of the NIH, and a selection of some of my artwork about Cajal and his life displayed on the right.

Man, Sunflower, and Nuclei Nests, graphite, acrylic and ink on paper, 18" x 24," 2014

Man as Sunflower, acrylic and graphite on paper, 14" x 17," 2014

Fledgling, acrylic, ink and graphite on Yupo, 18" x 24"

May Day:  Cajal in Spring, acrylic on Yupo paper, 26" x 40,"  2014

detail May Day:  Cajal in Spring (here with a falcon)

detail May Day:  Cajal in Spring

detail May Day:  Cajal in Spring