Ryan M Pfeiffer + Rebecca Walz Capstone Exhibition

Exhibition organized for the International Museum of Surgical Science, on view there from January 21 – February 21, 2017, featuring work by IMSS Artists in Residence Rebecca Walz and Ryan M Pfeiffer.

header image: Ryan M Pfeiffer + Rebecca Walz, “A Mummy on Ice is Air,” Graphite, chalk lead, charcoal on paper (2016) [detail]


about the exhibition:
Through the lens of medicine, the body appears as a neatly organized system of discrete parts. The 12 organ model and its associated components give meaning, purpose and structure to the red mess of valves, fluids and palpitating tissues. In this way, medicine can be understood as a way of seeing the world. Drawing too is a way of seeing the world – so often associated with the investigation of form, the creation and manipulation of lines, boundaries and structure. It would seem then no accident that the earliest applications of health science are concurrent with the practice of anatomical illustration.

from left to right: Ryan M Pfeiffer + Rebecca Walz, “Specular Fluids (for St. Judith),” Graphite, chalk lead, charcoal, colored pencil on paper (2016); Ryan M Pfeiffer + Rebecca Walz, “Rites of Dolní Věstonice,” Graphite, chalk lead, charcoal, colored pencil on paper (2016); Ryan M Pfeiffer + Rebecca Walz, “A Mummy on Ice is Air,” Graphite, chalk lead, charcoal, colored pencil on paper (2016); Ryan M Pfeiffer + Rebecca Walz, “Internally Whole (for St. Bernadette),” Graphite, chalk lead, charcoal, colored pencil on paper (2016); Ryan M Pfeiffer + Rebecca Walz, “The Mystery Cult of Lucy,” Graphite, chalk lead, charcoal, colored pencil on paper (2016)

Over the course of their residency, Pfeiffer + Walz developed a series of 15 drawings exploring this paradigm, utilizing images from the Museum’s immense archive to parallel relationships between the formal aspects of drawing and the symbolic networks surrounding the surgically opened, cut, or recompiled body. Ryan M Pfeiffer + Rebecca Walz are collaborators that live and work in Chicago. Drawing from their research into prehistoric & ancient art, historical erotica, and esoteric traditions, their works synthesize concerns about sex, death, myth, transformation, and alchemy. They view the act of collaboration as the dissolution of individual identities and union of oppositions as a new, harmonized whole.

from left to right: Ryan M Pfeiffer + Rebecca Walz, “Theatrum Anatomicum,” Graphite, chalk lead, charcoal, colored pencil on paper (2016); Ryan M Pfeiffer + Rebecca Walz, “Cast in Sea Foam,” Graphite, chalk lead, charcoal, colored pencil on paper (2016); Ryan M Pfeiffer + Rebecca Walz, “Her Hydra-Static Skeleton (for St. Barbara),” Graphite, chalk lead, charcoal, colored pencil on paper (2016); Ryan M Pfeiffer + Rebecca Walz, “The Recapitulation of Eve,” Graphite, chalk lead, charcoal, colored pencil on paper (2016); Ryan M Pfeiffer + Rebecca Walz, “The Coronation and Massacre of Love | We are the Body’s Insurgent” Graphite, chalk lead, charcoal, colored pencil on paper (2016)
from left to right: Ryan M Pfeiffer + Rebecca Walz, “Scientific Illustration I: Savoir,” Walnut ink and graphite on paper (2016); Ryan M Pfeiffer + Rebecca Walz, “Scientific Illustration II: Toucher,” Walnut ink and graphite on paper (2016); Ryan M Pfeiffer + Rebecca Walz, “Scientific Illustration III: Penser,” Walnut ink and graphite on paper (2016); Ryan M Pfeiffer + Rebecca Walz, “The Expulsion (for Andrei Rublev),” Chalk lead on paper (2016)
Ryan M. Pfeiffer + Rebecca Walz, “Specular Fluids (for St. Judith),” Graphite, chalk lead, charcoal, colored pencil on paper (2016)
Ryan M Pfeiffer + Rebecca Walz, “Scientific Illustration II: Toucher,” Walnut ink and graphite on paper (2016)