Loyola University Chicago

Department of Biology

Hunter Cole: BioArtist

“Biological Domains,” 14 oil paintings and LED lights, Hunter Cole, 2016 with the artist.

Photo Credit: Loyola University Chicago, Natalie Battaglia


Biography of Hunter Cole

ART MEETS SCIENCE

Chicago-based artist and scientist Hunter Cole is recognized internationally for producing work that is inspired by science, but lives as art.  Cole who holds a PhD in genetics, reinterprets science through art. Cole ’s art includes paintings, photography, digital art, and living art using bioluminescent bacteria.  She is a member of the faculty in the Biology Department at Loyola University Chicago where she teaches biology and genetics labs.

Cole’s recent work includes a significant public art installation acquired by Loyola University Chicago for its Lakeshore campus. Entitled, Biological Domains, the art is comprised of 14 oil paintings, six of which depict specific areas in biology.  The installation incorporates LED lighting timed to create changing effects in the overall appearance of the installation throughout the day.  Paintings making up the installation incorporate biological topics including: animal organ systems, plant development, stem cell research, neurology, cell and molecular biology, invasive species, malaria, bacteria, HIV, and evolutionary themes.  Biological Domains is located in the Quinlan Life Sciences Education and Research Center, and was commissioned by Chancellor Michael J. Garanzini, S.J., who served as Loyola president from 2001-2015. 

Cole holds a Ph.D. and Master's degree in Genetics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a Bachelor of Science from the University of California-Berkeley. At Loyola University Chicago Cole created a course, Biology through Art, where students work to create art in a biology laboratory.

Cole completed a residency during the summer of 2015 at the SymbioticA lab at the University of Western Australia in Perth.  SymbioticA is the first research laboratory of its kind, enabling artists and researchers to engage in wet biology practices in a biological science department. While at SymbioticA she began work on her current project, Life with Endometriosis, which focuses on endometriosis and its affects of women living with the disease.  Endometriosis causes endometrial tissue to grow outside the uterus in other parts of the body. Endometriosis can result in extreme pain and infertility. One in ten women have endometriosis.

Another of Cole’s exhibitions entitled, Living Drawings used controlled line drawings made with bioluminescent bacteria. The bacteria were grown in a host environment and become collaborators in the art as it grows, then dies. In yet another series, Living Light and Bioluminescent Weddings, Cole uses photography to record people and objects by the light of bioluminescent bacteria.

Cole’s art has been shown in New York, San Francisco, the United Kingdom, Italy, Japan and the Czech Republic. Hunter Cole co-authored the paper, “Art and Genetics” with Joe Davis, Dana Boyd and Marek Wieczorek, published in the Encyclopedia of Life Sciences (ELS). She has been the subject of numerous newspaper and magazine articles, and has been included in such publications as:  Science, The Scientist, the Chicago Tribune, Detroit Free Press, Muy Interesante (Spain), Le Monde, and Beaux Arts magazine (France).

Additionally, Hunter Cole has presented seminars on art and science throughout the United States and internationally including: the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), American Museum of Natural History (New York), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Dialogue Between Science and Art Workshop in Hluboka, Czech Republic, and SymbioticA at the University of Western Australia in Perth, Australia.

Hunter Cole can be reached at huntercolemail@gmail.com

Biological Domains

An Installation of 14 Oil Paintings and LED Lights

Hunter Cole, 2016

Her most recently completed project is Biological Domains, a major installation of science inspired art on view in the third floor atrium of the Quinlan Life Sciences Education and Research Center.  This is the latest addition to the University’s permanent collection of public art at its Lakeshore campus.  This is an art installation covering a 2-story wall with fourteen (14) paintings and custom LED lighting.  Six (6) large painting with biological themes and eight (8) smaller paintings complete the design.  The installation reflects a broad array of biological topics including animal organ systems, plant development, malaria, bacteria, HIV, stem cell research, neurology, cell and molecular biology, invasive species and evolutionary themes. 

For more detailed information on the individual paintings that comprise the Biological Domains installation, click here.

 

  “Biological Domains,” 14 oil paintings and LED lights, Hunter Cole, 2016.

Photo Credit: Loyola University Chicago, Natalie Battaglia

 
 “Biological Domains,” 14 oil paintings and LED lights, Hunter Cole, 2016.

Photo Credit: Loyola University Chicago, Natalie Battaglia

 

  “Biological Domains,” 14 oil paintings and LED lights, Hunter Cole, 2016 with the artist.

Photo Credit: Loyola University Chicago, Natalie Battaglia

 

 

 

 

Dr. Hunter Cole, formerly known as Hunter O'Reilly, is a lecturer in Loyola University Chicago's Department of Biology. She integrates art and science through her paintings, drawing and teaching. Her paintings have been featured on a number of biology journal covers, including the examples shown below.

Dr. Cole regularly lectures on the intersection of art and science, and has been featured in magazines and television shows both in the US and abroad. For an extensive gallery of her work and a complete list of her accomplishments, please visit her website: http://www.huntercole.org.

‌Hunter Cole can be reached at huntercolemail@gmail.com




Symposia Posters:

Loyola University Chicago
Frontiers in Life Sciences Symposia Posters

  • Dr. Joy Zedler 2005
  • Dr. Thomas Wellems 2007
  • Dr. Lynn Margulis 2008
  • Dr. Neil Shubin 2009
  • Dr. Yoav Gilad 2010

Artwork on Biology Journal Covers:

Nature Reviews Genetics
January 2001
Volume 2 No. 1

DNA Is Everywhere: DNA Fingerprinting I


Nature Reviews Genetics
August 2001
Volume 2 No. 8

Unique Clones