Scientists and doctors can peer into the human body ever more clearly and deeply. But is what they see equivalent to who we are? A series of Plexiglas panels by Hannah Moles opens up these and other questions about the relationship between the stuff of our bodies and the makeup of our selves. Moles took cheek swabs from herself and female members of her family, then extracted cell samples and bacteria on which to base subsequent portraits. The resulting paintings are strange, ethereal, and, for me at least, full of loose figurative associations: Mother Earth, a globular body with arms, a floating pair of eyes, swarming animals. Do they offer, as Moles suggests, the most honest possible portraits of the sampled women? I hesitate to agree, and yet, as someone who knows the power of malignant cells, I cannot disagree either.
—Lori Waxman 3/24/17 4:06 PM