Elaine Whittaker


Elaine Whittaker is a Canadian artist inspired by an aesthetic in which art and science intersect. Her artworks have been shown in group and solo exhibits,

nationally and internationally. These include, among others, Ontario Science Centre (Toronto), Science Gallery (Dublin, Ireland), Plug In Institute for Contemporary

Art (Winnipeg), Red Head Gallery (Toronto), Yukon Arts Centre Gallery (Whitehorse), McMaster Museum of Art (Hamilton), Kunsthaus Santa Fe (San Miguel de

Allende, Mexico), Il Gabbiano (La Spezia, Italy), and the Contemporary Art Institute of Detroit (Michigan, USA). She has been an invited participant in residencies,

workshops and festivals on science and art, and her work has been featured in literary, academic, medical, and scienti c periodicals, websites and blogs. She is a

recipient of grants from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, and the Toronto Arts Council, and holds a BFA (York University, Toronto), a Fine

Arts diploma (Toronto School of Art), and a BA (Carleton University, Ottawa).

Artist’s Statement

Cultural critic Mike Davis contends that an ecology of fear, and even panic, increasingly de nes contemporary imagination. My artworks examine how the cultural

and social ecologies we inhabit are being transformed in unexpected, and often uncontrollable, ways. These transformations are viewed through the matrix of

biology, the aesthetics of disaster, and the psychology of trepidation.

We live in a porous world, in porous bodies. The possibility of being breached, infected, and losing body integrity is always present. My artworks explore this fear by

portraying the invisible world of teeming microbial life as luminous beauty but with the terrifying possibility of infection. Considering biology as the basis for my

contemporary art practice, I use scienti c methods and technologies to create installations, sculpture, photo-based images, and paintings. Situated in the realm of

Bioart, my artworks challenge viewers’ perceptions about their bodies, as sites that are continually trespassed, tainted, and contaminated by a popular culture that

escalates social anxiety and terror of microbes, fueling a sense of bioparanoia.


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