On display: April 6 - 8:30 pm
(as far as we know)
by Shelley Lowenstein
Opening Reception: Friday, April 6, 2018, 6 - 8:30 pm
Closing Reception: Sunday, April 29, 1:30 - 3:30 pm
WASHINGTON, DC – Albert Einstein said that mystery is at “the cradle of true art and true science” and in “(as far as we know),” a new solo show opening in April at Washington, DC’s Touchstone Gallery, 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) features 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 representations of the cell itself. Artist proceeds from sales of the works will be donated to JDRF, the largest global funder of research to cure, prevent, and treat Type 1 diabetes. 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.
“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.”
To prepare for the show, 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, thus the show’s title.
“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.”
“(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.
About Beta Cells: Every human has less than a teaspoon of beta cells that lasts a lifetime. With incredible speed, 24/7, they make and release enormous amounts of insulin that converts glucose, “fuel” from the foods we eat, into the energy we need to think, exercise, and do multiple other quotidian tasks.
About Type 1 Diabetes: In type 1 diabetes (T1D), our immune system attacks and damages beta cells. It is an autoimmune disease not related to lifestyle or diet. People with T1D must make dozens of decisions every day about what to eat, when to eat, how much insulin to take and when to take it, knowing that a single mistake could be life threatening. Restoring and regenerating beta cells, coupled with therapies to reverse or block the autoimmune attack is the key to curing this life-threatening disease that is alarmingly on the rise.