Exhibition Vernissage │ Materia Medica

Wednesday, December 13, 2017, 17:30-19:30. Please come to a vernissage at the Osler Library to celebrate the opening of our newest exhibit.

RSVP required. To RSVP please click here.

McIntyre Medical Building Osler Library of the History of Medicine, 3rd floor, 3655 promenade Sir William Osler, Montreal, QC, H3G 1Y6, CA

Trace, late 14th century, “to make a plan or diagram”, from Old French, 12th century, trasser “delineate, score, trace, follow, pursue”.

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 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 images 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 devastating 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.

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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 son 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 Michel Larose, the Osler Library for the History of Medicine, and the Canada Council for the Arts for their generous contribution to this residency and exhibition project.

Osler Day 2016

Osler Library Board of Curators' medal

Osler Library Board of Curators’ medal

Come join us this Wednesday, October 26th for Osler Day 2016!

The Pam and Rolando Del Maestro William Osler Medical Students Essay Contest has selected three  finalists who will each have the opportunity to present before the judges panel from 11:30-1:00pm in the Jonathan C. Meakins Auditorium, McIntyre Medical Building 5th Floor, 3655 Promenade Sir William Osler.

The 2016 finalists are:

“Being placed at the Douglas Mental Health Institute for the family medicine shadowing program in first year was quite the adventure for me. Over time, I became increasingly interested in the history of mental health institutions like the Douglas, mental health care policies and more broadly, the history of psychiatry as a medical field.”

 

“As medical students, we are exposed to plenty of dogmas. Yet, medical dogma, like everything else in the world is susceptible to error. In accepting this, I sought to elucidate the origins of the formerly accepted belief that newborns did not feel pain”

Faculty, students, and friends are all welcome to attend and show their support for this year’s finalists. More details about the contest can be found here. Our special thanks to the Medical Students’ Osler Society, the Board of Curators of the Osler Library of the History of Medicine, and Pam and Rolando Del Maestro for their continued dedication with this celebrated annual event.

julio-biv__03_2In the evening, at 6:00pm in the Charles F. Martin Amphitheatre, the 39th Annual Osler Lectureship welcomes distinguished guest lecturer Dr. Julio SG Montaner, OC, OBC, MD, DSc (hon), FRCPC, FCCP, FACP, FRSC.

Director, BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, St. Paul’s Hospital, Providence Healthcare; Professor and Head, UBC-Division of AIDS, UBC and St. Paul’s Hospital Foundation Chair in AIDS Research; UNAIDS Special Advisor on HIV Therapeutics.

Dr. Montaner played a key role in establishing the efficacy of Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy (HAART) and since then has established the role of ‘Treatment as Prevention’ using HAART to simultaneously decrease progression to AIDS and death, as well as HIV transmission.

From Treatment to Prevention: Rethinking our Approach to Contagious Diseases

In 1996, medical researchers in British Columbia discovered that combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) significantly improved the quality and length of the lives of patients with HIV/AIDS, but only after the province began providing cART for free did researchers discover something equally profound: cART also prevented HIV transmission. This talk examines the journey from treatment to prevention and the implications for how we fight contagious diseases at local and global levels.

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Montréal Baroque Festival at Osler Library

Last Saturday we were pleased to host a sold out festival event in the Osler Library’s Wellcome Camera. Vincent Lauzer (pictured below) performed solo works for recorder as part of the 14th annual Montréal Baroque Festival. Each piece was composed by young Quebec composers, inspired and influenced by the Baroque style. We look forward to hosting more music events like this in the future! Details about a winter concert series will be announced later this year.

Vincent Lauzer performs at the Osler Library, part of Montreal Baroque Festival 2016.

Vincent Lauzer performing at the Osler Library’s Wellcome Camera, part of Montreal Baroque Festival 2016.

For more information about the Montréal Baroque Festival, please visit https://www.montrealbaroque.com.

Osler Essay Contest finalists

Tomorrow, the three finalists from the Osler Society and Osler Library Board of Curators Essay Contest will present their essays.

Osler at His Desk in Baltimore. From the William Osler Photo Collection.

Osler at His Desk in Baltimore. From the William Osler Photo Collection.

The contest gives undergraduate medical students the opportunity to explore a theme of interest to them in the history, social studies, ethics, and humanities of the medicine. Through the course of writing their essay, they are mentored by an expert in their topic drawn from the Osler Library’s Board of Curators, the Department of Social Studies of Medicine, or elsewhere.  It is also a chance to use the rich resources and expertise of the Osler Library to craft their essay.  Out of 20 student proposals, 8 essays were submitted and 3 finalists have been chosen.

  • Julia Hickey, “The Predominance of Osler’s Humanism in the Practice of Palliative Care”
  • Susan Mengxiao Ge, “Observation: The Importance of Art in Medicine”
  • Jennifer Pors, “Blood Ties: A History of Blood Transfusion”

Please join us from 9:30-11:00 in room 210 of the McIntyre Medical Building to hear from our three finalists. The winner will be announced at the Osler Banquet on Wednesday, November 6.

Anatomical atlas donated in honour of outgoing principal

This Tuesday, April 30th, at Osler, Principal Monroe-Blum was presented with a significant rare work donated in her honour. The Exposition anatomique de la structure du corps human by Jacques Fabien Gautier d’Agoty (1716-1785) was published in France in 1759. D’Agoty was an artist who trained in colour printing with Jacob Christoph Le Blon (1670-1741), a German painter and engraver who developed the technique of colour mezzotint printing. D’Agoty took on the difficult and elaborate project of printing a complete, life-sized anatomy in colour. The resulting book is an elephant folio with nineteen pages of text and twenty colour mezzotint plates.

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Mezzotint is an intaglio printing technique, meaning that a design is incised into a surface and the resulting image is created by the ink in the grooves. In mezzotint printing, the negative space in the image on the plate is roughened up and pitted with a tool called a rocker in order to achieve half-tones and shading. Le Blon’s colour mezzotint process involved making multiple engravings, one for each colour of ink, and then overlaying them. His original technique involved the use of red, blue, and yellow inks to create a range of colours and he later added a fourth layer of black.

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This copy of the Exposition anatomique now held at Osler is among only a handful of existing copies. Others are held in the Bibliothèque nationale de France, Yale University, Harvard University, and the University of Edinburgh, among others. It is also the only known copy in Canada. The atlas was acquired thanks to several generous donors and presented in recognition of Professor Heather Munroe-Blum’s ten years as Principal and Vice-Chancellor.

Photos: Sabrina Hanna

 

 

Exhibition catalogue now online

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The exhibition catalogue for our current exhibition, “Artistic Practice Scientific Vision: British Artistic Anatomy in the Late Eighteenth and Early Nineetenth Century,” curated by Dr. Allister Neher is now online!

This vivid exhibition explores the intersection of art and anatomy in late eighteenth and early nineteenth century Britain. Medical students and art students of the period frequented the same milieux, as aspiring doctors studied drawing at places like London’s Royal Academy of Arts and young artists studied anatomy at private medical schools.

Be sure not to miss the exhibition in person, on through the end of February.