Barbara Jones

Acrylic paint on acetate



My art practice relates to microscopic cells so is perfectly suited to the circular format of a Petri dish. “Culture” comprises a series of circular sheets of acetate onto which I have painted cell-like shapes which are then contained within the sealed Petri dish. Depth is generated within the layers through the addition of “spacers”, creating distance between some of the acetate sheets. I aim to give the impression of the view through a microscope, producing three dimensional effects and a sense of movement. For this artwork I have replaced my usual medium of watercolour with acrylic which is more suited to the plastic surface of acetate, but I have tried to emulate the translucent effect of watercolour, instilling the work with mysterious qualities. There are many paradoxes within this work. The cell images are very beautiful, yet they could be perceived as cells of a deadly disease, a sight we have become familiar with throughout the pandemic. The watery colours give the cells a delicate quality yet each one is bound by a strong perimeter edge. Each cell appears, at times, to be both transparent and opaque, depending on its positioning in relation to other cells.



My artistic practice is concerned with an examination of the nature of disease. This includes viruses such as the common cold as well as the rise of cancer and the challenge of present-day diseases, such as Covid 19. Beginning with electron microscope images of disease I develop a personal visual language which I use to create aesthetically pleasing interpretations of these deadly cells, aiming to draw the attention of the onlooker. I hope to seduce the viewer into a close examination of my work and lead them to acknowledge that

disease is a natural phenomenon which exists alongside mankind, albeit in a hidden and enigmatic fashion. I find the vision of cells on a microscopic level to be mesmerising and I want to communicate

the astonishing beauty of scientific processes to the public. I aim to aestheticize the hidden world of microscopic cells and highlight the scientific wonders of the human body. My fascination with scientific imagery, particularly electron microscopy, has developed alongside my interest in aesthetics and accepted notions of beauty. I believe that the viewer feels a natural connection with the abstract forms of cell imagery and my artwork aims to break down the false distinction between art and science. The hidden world of microscopy inspires me in my use of shape, colour and medium. In my work I combine the inspiration I gain from cell imagery with the understanding of the scientific processes at work in finding new cures.