Rowan University Art Gallery presents SuperCellular, a new site-specific immersive art gallery experience
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Rowan University Art Gallery presents SuperCellular, a new site-specific immersive art gallery experience
Carolyn Healy and John JH Phillips, SuperCellular installation view 2023. Photo courtesy of Rowan University Art Gallery.

GLASSBORO, NJ.- Rowan University Art Gallery is presenting SuperCellular, a new collaborative site-specific immersive art gallery experience by Carolyn Healy and John JH Phillips. The exhibition will be on view through March 25, 2023 with an opening reception and artist’s talk on February 2, from 5-7 pm. The talk begins at 5:30 pm.

SuperCellular combines sculpture, light, sound, and moving imagery as a reflection of the astonishing and almost incomprehensible density and activity of the chemical molecules in our bodies. Inspired by neuroscience, cellular biology, and genetics— topics extensively read and watched by the artists during the COVID-19 pandemic—the installation contemplates the complexities and intricacies of living processes and the mysteries of cellular interactions.

Visitors will enter the installation through a short corridor and walk into a darkened room where every section, ceiling to floor, is filled with sculpture, video, and sound. Interacting with projections and sculptures, as well as soundscapes composed from over 450 computer sound files, viewers will be immersed in an active buzzing aural environment.

The impact of the overlapping projections and three-dimensional sculptures are in response to the wonders of cellular biology. As the artists explain, “like many others during the height of COVID, we became fascinated by the workings of the human body.”

“We Sapiens have used art for millennia to express the ineffable, to try to understand what makes us, us. We hope visitors to this exhibit, in bringing their own imagination and knowledge to the experience of the artwork, will find new opportunities to think about the microscopic mysteries of life,” said Healy and Phillips.

The imagery featured in SuperCellular is inspired by the immense number of complex actions performed by the trillions of molecules that make up living organisms. Some of the images are reminiscent of neuron cells, while others are reflective of membranes and molecules interacting in transparent globes. Overall, the objects, video, sound, and sculpture are abstracted organic imagery meant to be a reflection of the marvel and intricacies of living processes.

Healy is an installation artist who began her career exhibiting small, abstract assemblages at Locks Gallery, in Philadelphia, in 1979. Since creating a stage set for a performance of Molly Bloom’s soliloquy from James Joyce’s Ulysses, in1987, she has concentrated on large site-specific installations, many in collaboration with sound and video artist John Phillips. Some of these have been settings for performance events and many have been created for dilapidated industrial or historic buildings. Materials found on location have been incorporated whenever possible, along with other recycled or common objects. The projects have been seen nationally and internationally in museums, university galleries, and theaters, as well as numerous alternative sites. Carolyn has received five individual Artist Fellowships in Interdisciplinary Art from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a grant from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, an NEA New Forms Regional Grant, as well as numerous project support grants from the Leeway Foundation, the Dietrich Foundation, and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts.

Phillips is a sound and video artist. His work has included interactive sound installations and audio-visual performances in museums, art galleries, and non-traditional spaces in this country and abroad. Since 1987 he has collaborated extensively with sculptor Carolyn Healy on site-based installations. His musical compositions have been presented at dance and theater venues, on the nationally syndicated radio program New American Radio, and at national and international electronic art festivals such as ISEA and ICMA. His live sound and video performances have been seen in numerous venues in Philadelphia and also in New York City; his composing has been supported by American Composers Forum (collaboration with Pauline Oliveros) and the Millay Colony (composer in residence). To pursue his video work, he has enjoyed residencies at the Experimental Television Center and at Signal Culture, both in Owego, New York. Grants include a fellowship in Sound Art from the National Endowment for the Arts and several in Media Arts from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts.

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