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Boundy-Mills’ work in this exhibition: The Flask

The Flask
Medium: VIshniacozyma carnescens UCDFST 06-512, Vishniacozyma victoriae UCDFST 06-574, Sporidiobolus salmonicolor UCDFST 68-374, Rhodosporidiobolus ruineniae UCDFST 78-85, and Pseudotremella moriformans UCDFST 06-554 (five strains of yeast) on agar.

To produce this yeast art, a photo of Paul Klee’s The Vase (1938) was adjusted to match the size of the Petri plate and printed on paper. An agar Petri plate was placed on top of the paper, the image was traced onto the agar surface using the five species of freshly grown yeast.

Yeast Art, Generaly

Yeast art is created by spreading a very thin film of live yeasts onto agar (yeast growth medium) in a Petri plate in an artistic pattern. The yeast are initially visible only as small scratches on the surface of the agar. As the yeasts grow over the course of several days, the pattern becomes visible. Most yeast species are cream to beige colored. Some species produce red, orange or yellow pigments.

Yeasts also differ in texture and sheen: some are matte and others are glossy, some form compact well-defined colonies and others ooze with a mucoid texture. (Yes, “mucoid” really is the scientific term used to describe the texture of these shiny, slimy, drippy yeasts.)

The Phaff collection has mailed greeting cards with photos of “yeast art” to scientific colleagues since 2004. Early creations were seasonal subjects such as snowflakes, Christmas trees and snowmen. Subjects of research in the laboratory were the theme for several years, such as insects that had been sampled for yeasts, and the molecular structures of lipids. Recent creations have been inspired by modern artists such as Paul Klee and Piet Mondrian.