To me, the stained glass work is a fusion of science and art.
 

Joel Kowit

Artist Statement

Science-inspired art often relies on new technologies to create images, forms, movements, or even sounds.  My artwork uses a thousand-year-old technology, stained glass, a medium historically used in church windows to inspire awe and reverence for biblical characters.  My pieces, however, focus on the cellular, rather than the celestial universe: biomolecules and cellular structures - the characters of life. The medium of stained glass parallels the microscope, which relies on the transparent surface of the cell to visualize stained internal structures.  Changes in light with time, season, and weather bring life to the stained glass works - a synthesis of science and art.  To be true to science, my works aim for scientific accuracy within the context of the art form.

The particular proteins and structures chosen are iconic examples of scientific achievement.  Several are inspired by work associated with Nobel Prizes in chemistry, medicine or physiology; some are associated with important human diseases.  The images ("Inhibition," "Recognition," "Tolerance," "Contract," "Passage," and others) allow one to reflect on activities common to cells, to humans and to society.  These stained-glass pieces are a testament to science and to scientific research – the long hours, failures and successes, brilliance and creativity, the joy of understanding how life works, the extraordinary contribution of developing a new therapy.   They all ask the fundamental question, “How does life work?”  Every day, when I gaze at the light coming through one of these stained-glass images, it’s an inspiration to me for the wonder, beauty, and value of science.  Viewers without a science background are invited to move beyond a visual experience of the works, to ask questions, and to be enticed along the path to science.


Stained Glass Exhibits

  • Solo Exhibition, Cary Memorial Library, Lexington, MA (March 6-April 30, 2018) (8 stained glass pieces plus 5 framed pieces showing photo collages of the process of stained glass.
  • Solo Exhibition, LabCentral, Kendall Square, Cambridge (June 26-August 23, 2017) (13 stained glass pieces, plus 22 framed pieces showing preliminary drawings, sketches, and photo collages of the process of stained glass.)
  • Gallery Blink, Lexington, MA January, 2017 (2 pieces)

Painting Exhibits

  • Solo Exhibition, Massachusetts State House, Boston, 2013
  • Solo Exhibition, Gallery 5, Emmanuel College, Boston
  • Solo Exhibition, Lincoln Library, Lincoln, MA, 2014
  • Solo Exhibition, Cary Memorial Library, Lexington, MA, 2013
  • Solo Exhibition, Cary Memorial Library, Lexington, MA 2009

 Honors

  • Breakthrough Artist of the Year Award, Council for the Arts, Lexington, MA for 2017 for stained glass work (First year for the award)
  • Stained glass piece, “Degradation” (26S Proteasome) as cover image for The Biochemical Journal, 294(19) Oct 1, 2017

Pieces in collections

Vibration (Organ of Corti)
Decibel Therapeutics, Boston, MA

Loss (Beta-Amyloid Fibril)
LabCentral, Kendall Square, Cambridge, MA

Degradation (26S Proteasome)
Dr. Alfred Goldberg, Professor of Cell Biology, Harvard Medical School

Migration (Leukocyte Extravasation)
Dr. Rodger McEver, Vice President of Research, Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation

Inflammasome Series (I)
Dr. Peter Libby, former Chief of Cardiovascular Medicine, Brigham & Women’s Hospital; Mallinckrodt Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School

Inflammasome Series (2)
Dr. Paul Ridker, Director, Center for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Eugene Braunwald Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School

Inflammasome Series (3)
Dr. Eicke Latz, Institute Director, Institute of Innate Immunity, University of Bonn, Germany

Inflammasome Series (4)
Anonymous