The art of DNA

Tuesday 7 October 2014

Sophie McKay Knight exhibition

An art exhibition exploring the link between science and art will launch at the University of St Andrews this month.

Professional artist Sophie McKay Knight has teamed up with the School of Chemistry to present her latest exhibition, ‘Molecular Self’, an array of works influenced by the DNA molecule.

The exhibition, which is free to attend and open to the public, will run from Thursday 23 October until Friday 21 November, weekdays from 9-5pm in the School of Chemistry, North Haugh, St Andrews.

Stemming from a long fascination with illustrating the human figure and an interest in what is happening inside as well as outside the body; Sophie, a graduate of Edinburgh University and College of Art, visited the School of Chemistry at St Andrews to learn about how molecular research is carried out, while exploring ideas around DNA replication and genetic coding.

‌Sophie involved children from her local community in Burntisland, Fife, in the project by interviewing each of them on their individual thoughts about inheritance and the nature vs nurture debate. By taking key points from each discussion with the children, Sophie developed them into individual works of art.

Professor David O’Hagan, School of Chemistry at the University of St Andrews, said:

“It is really exciting for the School of Chemistry to have caught Sophie’s attention. Scientific research is an extremely creative pursuit, and success requires many of the attributes found in the creative arts. I know our staff, students and researchers will connect immediately with her images when they are exhibited. We are delighted to open the exhibition to the public too”.

Sophie McKay Knight added:

“Support from the School of Chemistry was invaluable in helping me develops this new body of DNA inspired work. I have really enjoyed working with the children and families and have had some fascinating discussions on the nature vs nurture debate”.



‘Molecular Self’ received funding from Fife Contemporary Arts & Crafts and will exhibit at the Quay Gallery in Aberdour in Spring 2015.

Images are available on request, please contact the Communications Office.

Professor David O’Hagan, School of Chemistry, is available for interview and can be contacted on 01334 467176 or [email protected]

Sophie McKay Knight can be contacted on [email protected]

Sophie McKay Knight has been working as a professional artist since 1997, regularly exhibiting throughout the UK. She has won awards for her paintings and has work in public and private collections locally and abroad. Her work has always been based on the human figure, but is inspired by the things that make up a whole person, and what/where their sense of self comes from. She incorporates many things into her paintings -‘collecting’ images of people from everywhere; often remembering a scene she has witnessed, sometimes responding to a fictional or historical character. Sophie is interested in storytelling, everyday magic, memory and reflections.

Issued by the University of St Andrews Communications Office
Contact Victoria Herd on 01334 2530 or email [email protected]

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