ichthy-eikons (Greek; “fish images”) is a solo exhibition of photographs by Noah Bressman for START.dt, the interdisciplinary partnership between START and Wake Downtown. As a doctoral candidate in Biology, Bressman uses the biochemical technique of clearing and staining, which was developed to study the anatomy and morphology of vertebrates, in his research on small and primarily aquatic species. The process uses chemical solutions to stain certain bodily tissues in vibrant colors while muting and/or eliminating undesired ones. Clearing and staining thereby aids scientists in their analysis of specific bodily structures and processes, enhancing the internal organization of vertebrates.

Outside his biology research, Bressman takes the lab technique a step further, using digital photo editing to deliberately alter the colors and patterns that emerge from clearing and staining to emphasize the dual scientific and artistic import of the process. “Nature provides me with an excellent foundation for my work. The goal of my work is to not only highlight the organization within organisms, but to enhance the aesthetics of morphology,” he says. ichthy-eikons includes pieces that range from the initial outcomes of clearing and staining to Bressman’s most modified, illustrating the expansive aesthetic potential of a baseline empirical process.

Noah Bressman is a Biology PhD student working with Dr. Miriam Ashley-Ross at Wake Forest University, whose research focuses on the functional morphology of fishes. He completed his undergraduate studies at Cornell University, where he worked as a researcher with Shoals Marine Lab and as a teaching assistant for courses in oceanography and marine biology.

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