Pint of Science Collaboration - Claire Bennett and Jenny Molloy

Creative Reactions is an art-related event organised by Cambridge Creative Network  and the Cambridge Pint of Science team, that is going to be the grand-closure of Pint of Science 2015 in Cambridge on 21st May at St Barnabas Church in Mill Road. In the build up to Pint of Science, 55 local artists are creating artwork in response to the talks and often in collaboration with the scientist they have been paired with. One such collaboration is between artist Claire Bennett and Jenny Molloy. Here, Claire tells us of her experience and the resulting artworks...

'Marchantia polymorpha - A Contemporary Still Life' An original Print by Claire

'Marchantia polymorpha - A Contemporary Still Life' An original Print by Claire Bennett created in response to the work of Jenny Molloy

In her talk for 'Pint of Science', Jenny Molloy is discussing the future of synthetic biology. At the Haseloff Lab where she works, a strain of the liverwort plant - Marchantia polymorpha - is being used as a new model system for synthetic biology. I am interested in how the simple liverwort - a descendant of the earliest terrestrial plants - is playing such an important role in current genome experimentation.

Although Marchantia polymorpha is not the most visually appealing of plants, I wanted to elevate this 'lower' weed from its current status to reflect its importance as a major new system for analysis and genetic engineering. To achieve this, I have placed the plant in a formal still life arrangement. In the arrangement, early botanical drawings of the structure of Marchantia polymorpha are juxtaposed with current molecular modelling diagrams of the plant. I was struck by the beauty of these molecular ribbon diagrams and how, in themselves, they looked like flower heads.

As an appropriate ‘vase’ for the still life arrangement, I have used the cuboid diagram showing Errera's Rule (1888). Errera's rule describing cell division underpins current experimentation in plant development.  By coincidence, 1888 is also the year in which Van Gogh painted his Sunflower still lifes; reflecting this, I have used roughly the same proportions and use of horizontal line in the Marchantia screen print.

The prints produced are all original screen prints made in small, limited editions.  They are available in three different states: as a one-colour print, a three-colour print and as a four-colour print.  The work will be shown at ‘The Architect’ on Wednesday 20th May and at the exhibition at St Barnabas Church on Thursday 21st May, where the prints will be available for sale, both framed and unframed. 

About the Artist

All of Claire Bennett’s prints are artist’s originals – either one-off, unique pieces or printed in small, limited editions.  Claire has a first-class honours in Fine Art and a science degree and she is interested in the parallels between these two disciplines. 

Claire combines her own art practice alongside her work as a Lecturer in Printmaking at a local college.  She currently has work showing in galleries in Hertfordshire and Dorset and will be exhibiting at the Childwickbury Arts Festival in July 2015.  She is happy to consider commissions from individuals, organisations and private companies.  Earlier this year, she was accepted as a Print Fellow at the Digswell Arts Trust in Hertfordshire.

For further information about these prints or her other work, please email:

To see this an the other works please come to the Creative Reactions event, St Barnabas Church, Mill Road, 21st May from 1pm

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