Current and upcoming events
December 13, 2017 - May 4, 2018
Materia Medica is an exhibition of recent work by Montreal artist Loren Williams. Invited by the Osler Library of the History of Medicine to create a body of work on the theme of Montreal's medical history, and recipient of the The Michele Larose - Osler Library Artist-in-Residence Programme for 2017, the artist combines artifacts from the Osler collection with collected and created traces of Montreal's medical past.
The work in this exhibition draws inspiration from books and artifacts in the Osler Library as well as a wide variety of other sources. In particular, early maps of the city offer a form of time travel, indicating the location of the first hospitals and their large gardens used for food and medicinal plants. Three hundred year old streets such as rue de l'Hopital and rue des Soeurs Grises still exist in Montreal today, drawing direct lines to Montreal's medical history, as do streets named Jeanne Mance, Marguerite d'Youville and Penfield.
Interested in these traces that reference Montreal's medical heritage, Loren Williams has created a body of mages that form a shadow archive. Images of medicinal plants used by the First Peoples and early settlers in Montreal were created using a 19th century camera-less photographic process called Cyanotype. The blue coloured images reveal the shadowy forms and details of the plants. They are like paper X-rays, made from a simple photographic process that uses UV rays, ie. sunlight, to expose the image, and water to develop it, sun and water being the same basic ingredients required by plants.
Over the course of a year, the artist followed charted streets and routes that link Montreal's past and present. Using epidemiological maps, she explored the sites and neighbourhoods of the city's devastaing outbreaks of Typhus, Cholera, Small Pox and Tuberculosis. Other plans of the city led her to sites of hospitals, asylums and the longest duel in Canadian history over the building of a new hospital.
Like the collected plants that echo an early botanical pharmacy, Loren Williams also collected and created other traces of medical history. X-rays and teeth molds reveal the body's structures, fractures and medical interventions. First aid kits and their compartments double as garden plans for medicinal plants, while hospital architecture is represented in the form of postcards the shape of library index cards.
These works, presented with artifacts from the Osler Library collection, bring together images and objects from the realm of science, art and everyday life, offering an eclectic, less rational, interconnected perspective of Montreal's medical history.
We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, which last year invested $153 million to bring the arts to Canadians throughout the country.
Nous remercions le Conseil des arts du Canada de on soutien. L'an dernier, le Conseil a investi 153 millions de dollars pour mettre de l'art dans la vie des Canadiennes et des Canadiens de tout le pays.
Loren Williams is a visual artist working predominantly in photography. The passage of time, natural history, museums and obsolete photographic technologies are the inspiration and vocabulary of her practice. Frequently there is a connection between the artwork and the site where it is presented.
Originally from the Kootenays in British Columbia, Loren Williams moved to Montreal in 1993 and received her BFA honours in photography at Concordia University. She has received awards and grants from the federal and provincial art councils and has exhibited her work nationally.
Loren Williams extends much gratitude to Michele Larose, the Osler Library of the History of Medicine, and the Canada Council for the Arts for their generous contribution to this residency and exhibition project.
- Dr. Faith Wallis, Oslerian Treasures: The Father of Modern Medicine, February 5, 2018.
- Impossible pathologies: re-fragmenting the archive, October 12 - December 12, 2017.
- The Gendered Cultures of Beer and Cheese: the Regulation of Human and Microbial Bodies on the Home and Industrial Scales, 1616 - 2017, September 11 - October 2, 2017.
- Vaccination: Fame, Fear and Controversy, 1798-1998, January 2017 - August 2017.
- A History of Neuro-Oncology: Candaian Savoir Faire, a talk by Dr. Rolando Del Maestro, MD, PhD, William Feindel Emeritus Professor in Neuro-Oncology, Director of McGill Neurosurgical Simulation Research and Training Centre. This talk encouraged discussion surrounding ideas and individuals that have shaped the world of neuro-oncology, while placing emphasis on Canadian neuro-oncology research. Attendees were encouraged to prepare a ‘Canadian Neuro-Oncology Minute’ that highlighted an individual’s contributions to historical and/or current advancements in Canada and received an autographed copy of Dr. Rolando Del Maestro’s book A History of Neuro-Oncology (2008).
- Rural Medicine in 20th Century Quebec: Stories and Devices, curated by Dr. Richard Fraser, Laura Sang, Joan O’Malley, Marc Provost, Jerry Xie, Meriem Bounnab and Lucy Luo. October 2016 - January 2017.
- Knowing Blood: Medical Observations, Fluid Meanings, curated by Darren N. Wagner and Nick Whitfield. January-September 2016.
- Sanitizing Style: Germ Theory and Fashion at the Turn of the Century, curated by Cynthia Tang and Anna Dysert. September-December 2015.
- On the Surface/Skin Deep, curated by Sylvie Boisjoli and and Shana Cooperstein. Read exhibition talks from the curators in the spring 2015 issue of the Osler Library Newsletter (no. 122). Follow link to an interview with the curators on our blog.
- The Literature of Prescription: Charlotte Perkins Gilman and The Yellow Wallpaper. A Biography of Neurasthenia in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries. Curated by Prof. Andrea Tone. September - April 2014.
- Designing Doctors: an exhibit talk by Professor Annmarie Adams, McGill School of Architecture. Tuesday, 7 May 2013, 1:00-2:00, Meakins Auditorium (5th floor McIntyre Medical Sciences Building).
- "Neurological Laboratories” to Interdisciplinary “Centres of Brain Research”: Otfrid Foerster, Wilder Penfield, and Early Neuroscience in Breslau and Montreal. Nickerson Fellowship talk by Dr. Frank Stahnisch, Thursday, 2 May 2013, 2:00 - 3:00, Don Bates Seminar Room 101, Department of Social Studies of Medicine, McGill University, 3647 Peel Street.
- Artistic Practice Scientific Vision: British Artistic Anatomy in the Late Eighteenth and Early Nineetenth Century, the catalogue to the exhibit curated by Dr. Allister Neher.
- Our Friend the Sun: Images of Light Therapeutics from the Osler Library Collection, 1901-1944, a lecture given by Dr. Tania Anne Woloshyn (Recorded January 24, 2011). This recording is made possible by a generous gift from Gail Beck, O.Ont., Med’78 and Andrew Fenus, MLS’74.
- Osler Library Lecture: A Relationship Etched in Time: Leonardo da Vinci, the Earl of Arundel and Wenceslaus Hollar, a lecture given by Dr. Del Maestro (Recorded January 10, 2011). This recording is made possible by a generous gift from Gail Beck, O.Ont., Med’78 and Andrew Fenus, MLS’74.
- Our Friend, the Sun: Images of Light Therapeutics from the Osler Library Collection, 1901-1944, the catalogue to the exhibit curated by Dr. Tania Anne Woloshyn.
Other events and exhibits
- 175 Years of the McGill Medical Library
- The Ghafiqi Project
- Margaret Ridley Charlton - Pioneer Medical Librarian. The first person with library training to work at the McGill University Medical Library and, with William Osler, one of the founders of the Medical Library Association.
- Osler's McGill: Medical Education, 1870-1885
- Our Friend the Sun - Images of Light, a lecture given by Dr. Tania Anne Woloshyn (Recorded January 24, 2011).
- Photographic Journey: McIntyre Medical Sciences Building and Osler Library - (Virtual McGill Project)
- A Relationship Etched in Time: Leonardo da Vinci, the Earl of Arundel and Wenceslaus Hollar, a lecture given by Dr. Del Maestro (Recorded January 10, 2011).
- Tour of Osler's Montreal 1870-1885 / Le Montréal de William Osler
- William Osler & the Teaching of Microscopy at McGill