Blood Vessels

Charlie Murphy (UK)
Hand-drawn borosilicate glass sculptures, 2011

Charlie Murphy’s delicate series of ‘blood vessels’ offers visitors a compelling range of insights into some of the anatomical structures, connections and associations of human blood vessels, veins and arteries. Inspired and informed by contemporary medical imaging and historic anatomical illustrations, these intricate and colourful glass sculptures infuse the supposed neutrality of scientific ‘illustration’ with emotive content.

Exploiting some of the expanding properties of red and blue toluene (a chemical used in thermometers) and the capillary action of finely drawn glass, the elaborate forms investigate a variety of cultural, linguistic and emotional dimensions, functions and flows of blood.

Each sculpture celebrates a key function or resonant association with blood’s related vessels and channels, drawing out complex, fantastical forms or blowing anthropomorphic interventions into the cold functionality of existing scientific apparatus.

About the artist: 

Inspired by 19th century glass artists whose work revealed hidden zoological forms, Charlie Murphy’s work utilises clinical-seeming hardware to visualise different aspects of blood in emotionally-charged sculptures. Blood Vessels references anatomical structure at different scales and attempts to interpret, embody, or expand on concepts of desire, anger, engorgement, connectivity and ancestry.