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Shelley Lowenstein

Albert Einstein said that mystery is at “the cradle of true art and true science” In her new solo show  opening April 6 at Washington, DC’s Touchstone Gallery “(as far as we know),” artist Shelley Lowenstein explores the mystery and wonder of the human beta cell, a major force essential to human life, and sometimes a victim of autoimmune attack.

(as far as we know) marries art and science in a variety of colorful, mixed media works of the insulin-producing beta cell–from representations of its role in converting glucose into the energy we need to live each day, to a series of abstract depictions of the cell itself. T1D is an autoimmune disease in which the body attacks and damages the beta cell. Ms. Lowenstein has a daughter who is among the more than 1.25 million Americans of all ages living with T1D, one of many autoimmune diseases that are growing exponentially, for reasons not understood.

I dream of bcells
ink on paper

“These works are about biological and artistic exploration,” said Lowenstein. “It is my way of celebrating the amazing beta cell, so essential to all human life, and yet still so mysterious. While I was drawn to this story through my personal connection,” Lowenstein continued. “I welcomed this opportunity to tell a scientific story and play with new art forms, both to expand my horizons and to raise awareness about this wondrous cell, making it more accessible and understandable to people of all ages and interests.”

Islet 5
bottle caps 

As she worked on this series, Lowenstein consulted with many scientists doing innovative beta cell research across the USA. “What was surprising to me was that while our knowledge of the beta cell has exploded just in the last decade, there is still so much to learn. “All these works are grounded in scientific fact, at least ‘as far as we know’,” said Lowenstein.  “Yet this lack of certainty gave me the freedom to experiment with new materials and come up with bold ways to represent these cells without making scientific illustrations,” she explained. “I was determined to bring them to life using vibrant colors that convey the energy they literally produce in all of us.”

Magnificent Mini Factory
24 x 24

“(as far as we know) is a labor of love, intentionally colorful, and steeped in optimism that we can restore normal beta cell function to all in the foreseeable future,” Lowenstein concluded.  See more at http://www.jdrf.org/greatercp/2018/03/15/local-artist-finds-beauty-in-beta-cells/  and http://www.jdrf.org/   Artist proceeds from sales of the works will be donated to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), the largest global funder of research to cure, prevent, and treat Type 1 diabetes.

(as far as we know) at Touchstone Gallery, 901 New York Ave NW, Washington DC 20112; http://www.touchstonegallery.com; info@touchstone.com; 202-342-2787; April 6-29, 2018; Wed, Thurs, Fri 11-6; Sat, Sun 12-5.