Portraits of photosynthesis

See the new exhibition by Odra Noel in our atrium from 26 October 2015.

Highgate resident on yew tree (yellow lichen)
Odra Noel

About the artist

Odra Noel trained as a doctor at the University of the Basque Country and gained a PhD in basic science at the University of London. Her research activities exposed her to cell culture, organ dissection, tissue analysis and morphological studies with both optic and electron microscopes.

Her art training includes a BA degree in aesthetics and music, and a certificate in computing. Her preferred creative mediums are mosaics, tiles and silks.

An enthusiastic interest in scientific art developed as a natural merging of scientific observation and artistic appreciation of the natural world. Her main subjects are healthy human organs and tissues, cell structure and mitochondria.

Odra Noel combines scientific work with scientific art creation. She lives in London.

About the exhibition

Photosynthesis: the magic trick that transformed the Earth and is the engine of life itself. Odra Noel explores this wonder of life with a free art exhibition presenting its main actors, their machinery and its consequences.

Enter the mysterious Euglena and the glorious blue-green algae (cyanobacteria), the hardy lichens in full bloom and the primordial purple bacteria, which first opened up the way. 

Take a look inside the photosynthetic cell, at the chloroplasts and mitochondria, catch a snapshot of these beautiful organelles where all the action takes place. Then dash down to the roots that ground the plants, making life on Earth (literally) possible. 

Finally, see the colossal remains of photosynthesis past, back from the depths of geological time: the  layered deposits of rusted iron, blood red and black at the bottom of prehistoric oceans, buried witnesses of the time that photosynthesis changed the earth’s atmosphere for ever.

Portraits of photosynthesis will be on display in the atrium of the Royal Institution from Monday 26 October to Friday 27 November. Join Odra for a drink and talk about her work at the opening night, on Wednesday 28 October.