The Science & Art Project Presents 'The Art of Diagnosis' March 26

March 18, 2009

March 18, 2009 — The University of Virginia Science & Art Project will present "The Art of Diagnosis: What Can Abstract Art Tell Us About the Anatomy of Disease?" on March 26 from 4:30 to 6 p.m. in the atrium and room 2005 of the School of Medicine's Medical Research Building 5.

The event will include an exhibit of 400 abstract images, followed by a program with opening remarks by Tom Skalak, U.Va. vice president for research, and presentations by Julie Davis Turner, associate professor of microbiology, and artist Brydie Ragan. A discussion and brainstorming session about research possibilities will follow.

The event is free and members of the University community and general public are welcome to attend. For information visit the project Web site.

Ragan, who is collaborating with Turner on "The Art of Diagnosis" project, has explored the relationship between scientific inquiry and abstract art since 2001. The "Art of Diagnosis" is her exploration of the illumination and potential for cross-fertilization among the conceptual views of one suffering physical morbidity.

Over time, it seemed as if the research Ragan conducted and the images she made began to inform each other, she said. She had a sense that she was developing a way of "seeing inside" and came to believe that her art — or abstract art in general — could conceivably play a role in diagnosing or finding cures for diseases.

She has several ideas for general research related to the use of art for diagnosis and scientific research, and seeks to collaborate with a scientist or scientists to examine the artwork of Paul Klee for clues that might lead to a cure for systemic sclerosis, because he died of the disease. Ragan has a personal interest in the quest: her sister also suffers from the same disease.

The Science & Art Project, conceived by University and community artists and scientists, seeks to nurture and accelerate pervasive interactions that emphasize creative innovation across disciplines. The project organizers encourage members of the University and Charlottesville communities to join this experiment that will culminate in citywide exhibitions, presentations and related publications.

For information about the Science & Art Project, visit

— By Jane Ford