Just as scientific study is an ongoing venture of discovering, negating and reinventing, the work of Susan Rankaitis is a forever open ended endeavor. Robert Mann Gallery is pleased to present the newest works by Rankaitis in the exhibition Grey Matters. Although her work is continually evolving, Grey Matters is the most recent intersection of the artist’s ongoing exploration of artistic and scientific processes.
Taking her lead from the innovative László Moholy-Nagy, Rankaitis’s work is rooted in the unconventional. This exhibition is comprised of unique images that meld the histories of experimental photography and abstract painting to create an artistic visual representation of scientific ideas. The work from the Grey Matters series is derived in part from Rankaitis’s most recent fascination with the concept of interoception. This obscure internal sense is in essence a physiological intuition, a process in which the body responds to needs before the deficit is mentally registered. In an effort to illustrate an intangible internal event such as interoception, or even the synapses of neurons, Rankaitis has engaged the use of mixed media to create images that are both cerebral and emotionally evocative.
Art Historian Barbara Maria Stafford has commented on the field of scientific art as being “the problem of how art makes visible the invisible.” The work of Susan Rankaitis, having been shaped, deconstructed and reformed by years of study in order to depict an unseen function, perfectly captures Stafford’s words. Her synthesis of artistic styles and scientific innovations has driven her both conceptually and technically in the art making process, resulting in works that are as challenging as they are striking.
Susan Rankaitis has been featured in solo exhibitions at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego; Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago; Center for Creative Photography, Tucson; International Museum of Photography at George Eastman House, Rochester. Her works are in permanent collections at the Art Institute of Chicago, MOCA, Princeton University Art Museum, Stanford University Art Museum, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Santa Barbara Art Museum. She received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts as well as from the City of Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department, Avery, Graves, Djerassi, Borchard, Flintridge, and Mellon Foundations. Rankaitis has also completed interdisciplinary collaborative projects with biologist Robert Sinsheimer, neuroscientist David Somers, dancer/choreographer John Pennington and the late writer Paul Monette.