Friday, December 31, 2021

2021 Highlights Review: Brooklyn, Cajal, Las Vegas, Simulacra, and New Websites - oh my!

Dawn Hunter, nine square reflection of 2021 featuring my portraits of Cajal and recreations of his scientific illustrations. All images are marker, pen and ink on paper that I created about Cajal through researching his scientific drawings on display at the National Institutes of Health, and other primary sources as a Fulbright Scholar at the Instituto Cajal.

Brooklyn Botanical Gardens

I focused time and creative energy on self-care this past calendar year. During the summer, I drove from South Carolina to Brooklyn, New York to immerse myself in the city and the natural beauty of the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens and draw. This past summer, other terrific events were happening in New York, like the Cézanne exhibition at MoMA. Taking in different cultural events was enriching, but I found my time drawing at the BBG to be the most spiritually, emotionally and creatively replenishing.

Brooklyn Botanic Garden, marker and pen on paper, 11" x 14"

Japanese Garden, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, marker and 
pen on paper, 11" x 14"

Me, sweltering in the heat, but loving it, while drawing 
at the BBG.  June 2021.

2021 and Aesthetic Instincts: The Intersection of Art and Science

I have continued my artistic journey with Santiago Ramón y Cajal.  Despite the challenges of the pandemic, 2021 has been an extremely productive year.  I have continued an active engagement in my artistic series about Cajal.  To that end, new opportunities include:  selections from that series were featured in the international publication UpperCase (featured July 28 on this blog in the ¡Muchas gracias! post), I had a solo exhibition of the entire series in Las Vegas, and works from the series were chosen as featured artwork in the 75th Anniversary Exhibition for the Fulbright Foundation (held online). 

I presented a lecture about Santiago Ramón y Cajal to CSN students, faculty and the general public of the greater Las Vegas area on October 19, 2021. 

View of my exhibition at the College of Southern Nevada, Las Vegas

The evening of my lecture, October 19, 2021

75th Anniversary Fulbright online, juried and curated, Exhibition:

It was an honor to have my work selected and featured in the 75th Anniversary of the Fulbright Foundation.  The time I spent at the Instituto Cajal was priceless and life changing.  When I began this series, I never dreamed that I would have access to his original journals, sketchbooks, personal photographs, histology slides, scientific equipment and personal objects.  You can learn more about the Fulbright exhibition by clicking:  HERE.

Re-creation of pages from Cajal's first sketchbook from Valencia, marker and pen on paper, 11" x 14"

Drawing Cajal's death mask, Instituto Cajal, Madrid, Spain.

Re-creation of inside back cover of Cajal's first sketchbook from Valencia, Fulbright Espana, Instiuto Cajal, Madrid, Spain.

100th Anniversary of the Instituto Cajal!
Continuing opportunities include that in celebration of the 100 anniversary of the Instituto Cajal, my work has continued to be displayed at the Instituto Cajal.  My work also continues to be displayed alongside Cajal’s work at the National Institutes of Health.

I currently have 10 drawings from my Fulbright research on display at the Instituto Cajal in celebration of its 100th Anniversary.  Below are two of the drawings from that display.  

For more information:  Instituto Cajal, Av. Doctor Arce, 37 28002, Madrid tel: 91 585 47 50 fax: 91 585 47 54

Drawing of NIH researcher Benjamin White's talk, marker on paper, 11" x 14", 2017.

Cajal's hands, microscope, pyramidal neuron, and mini self-portrait from his sketchbook juxtaposed with his retirement statement and design details from his Nobel Prize - the photographic source imagery was originally black and white. Color has been added and the color of the Nobel Prize design details has been altered, marker and pen on paper, 11" x 14."

Select work on display at the John Porter Neuroscience Research Center:

Cajal exhibition case for scientific drawings.

My work on display alongside Cajal's scientific drawing.

My portrait of Cajal, Man as Sunflower, graphite, ink and acrylic on paper, 11" x 14"

Savannah and Simulacra
I was honored to have my artwork, Secluded Play selected for the Simulacra exhibition at the Sulfur studios in Savannah, Georgia.  The show consisted of many works of diverse media, materials and themes. My works Vegas Garden and Secluded Play were both select for inclusion in the show.

Vegas Garden, graphite, pen, ink and acrylic on paper.

Secluded Play, graphite, pen and ink on paper.

New Websites!

Lastly, as I wrap up 2021 I am overhauling my website.  Within the process I realize that I have created too much work thus far in my lifetime to be featured on one website. Trying to organize it for one place has proved difficult and overwhelming. 

During March of 2021, because my current Cajal series is so comprehensive, I consolidated all of my Cajal portfolios on my parent website: 

I felt unsure what to do with my other portfolios, like Spectacle Spectacular, Personified Doubles & Complementary Opposites, Blue Cerberus, etc. I concluded that a sister website was in order. Thus, was born. To eliminate confusion, I have branded both sites the same, linking back to each other. 

In addition to the portfolios I mentioned, I am also featuring new projects, like my Darcy Inventory, an installation selected for ArtFields 2022. I have also uploaded on the website my entire teaching portfolio at UofSC and included a curation of twelve other portfolios of my personal artwork, highlighting my Spectacle Spectacular series, that can be viewed:  HERE. Please visit both sites to browse and enjoy!

As we ring in the New Year, let us be reminded of these words of wisdom from Cajal:

"Time and concentration allow the intellect to perceive a ray of light in the darkness of the most complex problem."

― Santiago Ramón y Cajal, Advice for a Young Investigator

Have a Happy New Year everyone!  I wish you all lots of love, friendship, good health and great success during 2022!  XOXO

Dawn Hunter, December 2021

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

¡Muchas gracias!

A big thank you to Janine from #Uppercase for including artwork from my Cajal project in the 50th Issue, Visualizing Science.  I was so thrilled to receive the print issue - it's beautiful!  View the issue here: @uppercasemag.

"The brain is a world consisting of a number of unexplored continents and great stretches of unknown territory."

― Santiago Ramón y Cajal

Dawn Hunter, Re-creation of pages from Cajal's first sketchbook from Valencia, marker and pen on paper, 11" x 14"

Re-creation of inside back cover of Cajal's first sketchbook from Valencia, Fulbright Espana, 
Instiuto Cajal, Madrid, Spain.

More work can be viewed at:  Cajal Project: The Fulbright Experience

Learn more about this work here:  Communing and Giggling with Cajal 

Order your copy of the 50th edition, Visualizing Science here:  UPPERCASE

Monday, July 26, 2021

Sumptuous Summer Landscape

I am spending the summer feeding the artistic soul, senses, and sensual while relishing my time Plein air drawing and painting the luscious landscape at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Highlights from the visual adventures. 

Dawn Hunter, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, marker and pen on paper, 11" x 14," 2021

Dawn Hunter, Brooklyn Botanic Garden_2, marker and pen on paper, 11" x 14," 2021

Dawn Hunter, Brooklyn Botanic Garden_3, marker and pen on paper, 11" x 14," 2021

“consider the possibility that any man could, if he were so inclined, be the sculptor of his own brain, and that even the least gifted may, like the poorest land that has been well cultivated and fertilized, produce an abundant harvest.” 

― Santiago Ramón y Cajal

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Birthday Amusements: Cajal Tweets Freud

On the advent of Cajal's birthday (1 de mayo de 1852), I have been amusing myself by imagining Cajal's reaction to two things.

First, the Psychology Department at UofSC commissioned a Founders of Psychology mural  painted by a colleague, Marius Valdes. The mural includes great pioneers from Psychology disciplines. The first time I saw it, I got a good chuckle because included among the featured figures was Cajal, but not Freud. Cajal disliked Freud and disagreed with his theories. He invested a great deal of time recording his dreams to disprove Freud.  Ultimately, Cajal decided that what he had did not merit publishing. 

Founders of Psychology Mural, UoSC Psychology Department, by Marius Valdes:

Second, I recently ran across the interview Freud gave in 1934, where he proclaimed that he was by nature an artist.   It was published in August of 1934. I wonder if Cajal ever saw it. If so, from the perspective of someone who was truly an artist, did he get a good laugh from it before his death in October of that same year? . . . . How, if given the opportunity would he respond in a tweet?

Digitally Fabricated Tweet by Dawn Hunter, Birthday Card Comedy for Cajal, April 29, 2021.  #neildegrassetyson  #steakumms

"Everybody thinks that I stand by the scientific character of my work and that my principal scope lies in curing mental maladies. This is a terrible error that has prevailed for years and that I have been unable to set right. I am a scientist by necessity, and not by vocation. I am really by nature an artist...My books, in fact, more resemble works of imagination than treatises on pathology." -Freud quote from Giovanni Papini interview, August, 1934.

Cajal, I am sure, would be much more gracious than my featured comedy routine above. All too often in our digital age powerful political and business leaders clashing on social media can be daunting, demoralizing, and cringe worthy. It is more fun imagining historical figures from the past colliding in the ether.

If you have not had a chance to see my new web site, please take a moment to check it out.  Here is a link to one of my Cajal Portfolio pages highlighting my experiences at the Cajal Institute as a Fulbright Scholar:  The Fulbright Experience.


antiago Ramón y Cajal, top Dawn Hunter, bottom.

Re-creation of inside back cover of Cajal's first sketchbook from Valencia, Fulbright Espana, Instiuto Cajal, Madrid, Spain.