Siberia Souls 1 (composite) three-layered, archival quality prints on polycarbonate, back-lit with LED color changing light system
Siberia Souls, an art exhibit of light sculptures
Balzekas Museum of Lithuanian Culture
6500 S. Pulaski Rd.
March 27 to June 30, 2015
Opening reception 7 to 9 PM, Friday, March 27
NOW EXTENDED THROUGH DECEMBER, 2016
I organized the highly successful Hope and Spirit project, which took place at the Balzekas Museum in 2011-12. This was to mark the 70 year anniversary of the mass deportations from the Baltic republics to Siberia by Stalin, and to commemorate the victims of these atrocities. Four of my blood relatives died during NKVD interrogations, and eight were deported to Siberia.
The primary purpose of this project was to inform the general public of these events and the deaths of 20 million innocent people. If history is forgotten, it will repeat itself. With the recent events in Ukraine, it appears that my concerns were prophetic. History is repeating itself.
It is due to my efforts that over 400 letters and photographs sent from Siberia have been found and saved from oblivion, and the tragic family stories revealed.
In this exhibit of seven diptychs, I incorporate these photographs and letters. If we remember departed individuals, in a sense they remain immortal. Memories are stored in neural networks in our brains. I incorporate the photographic images under layers of my own neural networks, brain scan images, and brain wave tracings.
Several of these diptychs focus on individual families, including my own relatives and those of the famed author Ruta Sepetys.
The light sculptures use LED light systems. Each diptych consists of a steady white light, and the other with color changing lights. This diptych structure parallels our own brain functioning, where the left hemisphere is analytical, black and white, and the right hemisphere creative, colorful.
The images were printed on three layers of polycarbonate to parallel the three layers of our own thought processes: conscious, subconscious, and unconscious.
Siberia Souls: Sepetys (details)
Siberia Souls: Nakutis (details)
Columns of Thoughts
Earlier this year, I was invited to display 14 of my light sculptures in an exhibit entitled Illuminated Thoughts, at the Beverly Arts Center, located in Chicago. Three of the pieces that were displayed, Columns of Thoughts, have been placed on permanent display in the lobby of the arts center.
Columns of Thoughts are free-standing, independent, light-emitting structures, paralleling our own human existence.
The neuronal pattern images incorporate my own neuronal profiles, electroencephalograms (brain waves), MRI brain scan images, and transformations of my own previous art work. They are printed on three separate layers of polycarbonate to parallel three layers of our own thought processes: conscious, subconscious and unconscious.
The color-changing LED light systems provide a constantly changing appearance to the images themselves.
All the materials used are of archival quality. The Columns are 65 inches tall.
Ongoing, permanent displays at:
Beverly Arts Center
2407 W. 111th Str.
Chicago, IL 60655
Columns of Thoughts, entrance lobby of the Beverly Arts Center. Columns have LED color changing lights, three archival-quality printed layers of images, 65 inches tall
Coluimn of Thoughts (details)
Coluimn of Thoughts, Dreamscape Column (details)
Galaxy of the Brain
The BRAIN-ART Initiative exhibit was very well received, and even was named "pick of the week" by the Chicago Tribune. The show has ended at the Beverly Arts Center and moved to the University of Chicago .
This was a nation-wide competitive art exhibit at the Beverly Arts Center, which I organized. We had a very large number of submissions of superb art works. It was juried by Aron Packer of the Packer Schopf Gallery who indeed had a difficult task. He selected 39 pieces by 33 artists. From this selection, Ms. Monica Hork chose 30 art works by 24 artists for the University of Chicago exhibit.
At the University of Chicago, this exhibit has been renamed The Galaxy of the Brain.
Artists had submitted pieces investigating how our minds work, where thinking comes from, what is the origin of consciousness. It is not only scientists who can shed light on how our minds function - artists can also do so.
The Galaxy of the Brain was exhibited in the Duchossois Center for Advanced Medicine (DCAM) from November 1, 2014, to March 10, 2015. Ms. Monica Hork then selected 9 art works by 8 artists for the continuation of the exhibit in another University of Chicago location: the Knapp Center for Biomedical Discovery. This selection includes my own two paintings.
Exhibit runs through June 10, 2015
3rd floor link between the Knapp Center for Biomedical Discovery (KCRD), and the Gordon Center for Interactive Science.
Enter through the KCRD, corner of 57 Street and Drexel Avenue. Take the elevators to the third floor. Turn right after leaving the elevator area.
Blue Man Group 2013 Art Competition and Exhibit
Briar Street Theater
3133 N. Halsted, Chicago, Illinois
September 20, 2013–indefinite
The Blue Man Group had their first formal art competition. From the innumerable submissions, my piece, Blue Consciousness was one of the six selected works. The other winners were:
Kathy Czopek, Blue Frenzy, from St.Louis, Missouri
Kuzana Ogg, Khshathra, from Bakersfield, California
Dan Olvera, FREN Z, from Chicago
Cody Rounds, Pulse, from Mahwah, New Jersey
Candace Wark and Shirley Nannini, Tangled All in Blue 5, from Chicago
The unveiling was part of Chicago's EXPO ART WEEK. After refreshments, the Blue Man Group performed a special 15 minute piece, and then unveiled the art works. These are all 10 x 10 feet in size, installed outside on the building's southern wall. The plan is to have the pieces displayed for 3 years.
Here is my verbal description of the piece:
The joyful essence of the Blue Man Group comes from unbridled creativity, imagination, teamed up with humor. This creativity arises from the interactions of our neurons--the interplay of their immensely tangled processes, coupled with stored associations, memories. In Blue Consciousness there are multiple layers of my own neurons, brain scans, and brain wave tracings overlying a transformed photograph I took of a polar bear on Beechy Island, in the Canadian high arctic. The images in these layers span many decades of experience. The polar bear is surrounded by blue ice, blue skies, blue consciousness.
Mirror Neurons; Oxford University Press
On September 3, 2013, Oxford University Press published Michael Graziano's book, Consciousness and the Social Brain. He is a professor of neuroscience at Princeton University, and is highly accomplished both as a scientist and as an author. In this book he presents a novel theory about the origin of consciousness.
Of note is the cover the book: Mirror Neurons. This is my 10 ft x 13 ft, wall mounted installation piece, which was installed in November 2012 and was on display until October 2014 at TB Studios in downtown Chicago.
Mirror neurons were first discovered by Italian neurophysiologists in the 1980's. In studying the movement controlling neurons, in the cerebral cortex of monkeys, they found neurons that participated in active movements, such as reaching for an object. They also responded, in a similar electrophysiologic fashion, to monkeys seeing that same movement performed by another. This confirmed observation in animals and in humans, led to the concept that mirror neurons are responsible for us having empathy for others. If our neurons respond to our own activities, and similarly respond to activities we see performed by others, the network instantly produces empathic understanding. Thus, empathy emerges from networks of these mirror neurons. The "Theory of Mind" arose from these concepts. In clinical neurology, there are many theorists who feel that a deficiency in the functioning of mirror neurons may be a cause of autism. This link to autism is very speculative, but worthy of serious attention.
In creating this installation I wanted to include a sense of mirror actions and of movement. The elliptical loops suggest whirling, the course of planetary motion, the endless loops of reverberation within our own memories.
Consciousness and the Social Brain,
Michael S. A .Graziano,
Oxford University Press
Mirror Neurons, 10' x 13' wall mounted installation
American Academy of Neurology
On June 9, 2012, the American Academy of Neurology had the grand opening of their new headquarters in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Academy is the largest organization of neurologists in the world. They moved the headquarters to downtown, on the western bank of the Mississippi River, across the street from the world-famous Guthrie Theater.
I was requested to provide the art to decorate this five story building, which I did--a total of eight pieces, one of which is 5 x 12 feet in size. My art is displayed on each floor, and is the only art on display. The pieces are all placed in the most prominent locations.
The staff even re-named the floors from 2nd, 3rd, 4th to yellow, orange and red, depending on the color of the piece in the lobby.
A team from Minneapolis visited me in Chicago, and video-taped me for almost six hours--to produce a six minute video! This can be seen on YouTube:
There are two large flat-screen TV sets on the main floor, one of which shows this video, and the other, my art works. These TV's can be seen from the sidewalk, which is quite impressive, especially at night.
All of these pieces are on permanent display, and the Academy staff would be glad to show them. It would be best to make tour arrangements in advance.
American Academy of Neurology
201 Chicago Avenue S
Minneapolis, MN 55415
Feburuary 11--March 20, 2011--EXTENDED
At the request of the Beverly Arts Center, a portion of the Mindscapes exhibit has been extended. Several smaller-sized works on paper, along with two 5 x 6 foot stretched works on canvas, and two 5 x 12 foot stretched pieces on canvas, will remain on display indefinitely.
Beverly Art Center
2407 W. 111 St.
Chicago, IL 60655
Gallery hours Mon-Fri 9-9, Sat 9-5, Sun 1-6
The Hope and Spirit series was dedicated to the millions of victims of Soviet atrocities, of all nationalities, religions, and races, who suffered two indignities: the brutality of genocide, and the injustice of the subsequent denial of their suffering and victimization.
Historians estimate that as many as 20 million people across Europe were killed by Stalin’s genocidal machine. Those who survived deportations and life in Gulags, did so due to the strength of their spirit, the force of their will, and endless hope. Thus, the program title was Hope and Spirit, a celebration of the human spirit.
I organized an extensive program of art and photography exhibits, film screenings, book signings, poetry readings, lectures, and exhibits of original historical materials. If we forget history, it will repeat itself. The Hope and Spirit series took place at the Balzekas Museum of Lithuanian Culture in Chicago, Illinois, from June 2011 through April 2012. Parts of the exhibit, photographs by Juozas Kazlauskas, photographs by Misija Sibiras 2010, and Chronicles of Violence continue to be on display on a permanent basis.