Sweet Existence

IBCarb has commissioned ‘Sweet Existence’ by artist Karen Barber – a vibrant, colourful collection of abstract paintings that showcase the incredibly diverse and vital roles of sugars.

Sweet Existence will be showcased across the UK in a variety of locations and as part of various meetings and events. We also encourage our members to use the images in their publications and materials. You can download directly from here or contact the Network Manager for high res files.

The paintings are currently on display at:

MIB, University of Manchester – contact claire.doherty@manchester.ac.uk

Would you like to display Sweet Existence? These paintings are available to network members to exhibit and host. Please contact the IBCarb Network Manager claire.doherty@manchester.ac.uk to check availability and for details.

IBCarb - Sweet Existence - Pulse I

1. Pulse I
36×36″
Acrylic Mixed Media on Canvas
In the bloodstream sugar molecules (green) are transported via blood vessels to supply energy to the cells in our bodies.

IBCarb - Sweet Existence - Pulse III IV V VI

2. Pulse III, IV, V, VI
4 x 12×12″
Acrylic Mixed Media on Canvas
Plaque build up on the arteries in atherosclerosis.

IBCarb - Sweet Existence - Pulse II

3. Pulse II
36×36″
Acrylic Mixed Media on Canvas
Sugars diffusing out of blood capillaries into the extracellular space.

IBCarb - Sweet Existence - Extracellular Matrix II, III, IV, V

4. Extracellular Matrix II, III, IV, V
4x 12×12″
Acrylic Mixed Media on Canvas
Four large cells supported by the extracellular matrix, with sugars (yellow) dispersed throughout.

IBCarb - Sweet Existence - Extracellular Matrix

5. Extracellular Matrix
36×36″
Acrylic Mixed Media on Canvas
A cross section of three cells in the extracellular matrix. The extracellular surrounds cells and contains many sugar based bio molecules which are made inside the cells themselves.

IBCarb - Sweet Existence - Mono’s and Poly’s

6. Mono’s and Poly’s
24×24″
Acrylic Mixed Media on Canvas
The liver is responsible for blood sugar regulation and many other roles in carbohydrate metabolism.

IBCarb - Sweet Existence - Endoplasmic Reticulum

7. Endoplasmic Reticulum
36×36″
Acrylic Mixed Media on Canvas
The endoplasmic reticulum is present in cells and builds up sugar molecules known as glycans before sending to the golgi.

IBCarb - Sweet Existence - Golgi

8. Golgi
36×36″
Acrylic Mixed Media on Canvas
The Golgi works closely with the endoplasmic reticulum. It completes the glycan molecules then packages them for transportation to where they are needed.

IBCarb - Sweet Existence - Gold Plate I

9. Gold Plate I
36×36″
Acrylic Mixed Media on Canvas
Sugar ‘chip’ for diagnostic devices. Sugar molecules can be attached to gold plates for study to mimic those found on cell surfaces.

IBCarb - Sweet Existence - Gold Plate II

10. Gold Plate II
36×36″
Acrylic Mixed Media on Canvas
A rapid readout technique makes gold ‘chips’ a high throughput technology. Changes in sugar structures can be indicative of various disease states e.g. cancers, diabetes and autoimmune disorders. This technique will allow rapid screening for these ‘biomarkers’ of disease.

IBCarb - Sweet Existence - Gold Plate III

11. Gold Plate III
36×36″
Acrylic Mixed Media on Canvas
Determining the structure of sugars is a significant experimental and analytical challenge. Scientists are developing mass spectrometry based techniques that will enable highly-sensitive, rapid analysis of sugars.

IBCarb - Sweet Existence - Beginnings I II III

12. Beginnings I, II & III
3 x 12×12″
Acrylic Mixed Media on Canvas
You wouldn’t be here today without sugars! Scientists have identified the sugar molecules that make the outer coat of the egg ‘sticky’, which is vital for enabling the sperm and egg to bind together.

IBCarb - Sweet Existence - Miracle of Life I

13. Miracle of Life I
36×36″
Acrylic Mixed Media on Canvas
Sugar molecules make the outer coat of the egg ‘sticky’. The sugar chain known as the Sialyl-Lewis-X sequence (SLeX) is highly abundant on the surface of the human egg and has been shown to specifically bind sperm to an egg.

IBCarb - Sweet Existence - Miracle of Life II

14. Miracle of Life II
36×36″
Acrylic Mixed Media on Canvas
Sugars in milk are important from birth. Human milk sugars are important for brain development and for preventing bacterial infections in infants.

IBCarb - Sweet Existence - Power of Light

15. Power of Light
24×24″
Acrylic Mixed Media on Canvas
Leaf cross section – chloroplasts (green) and stomata (red) play a role in photosynthesis – the conversion of light energy into chemical energy. Photosynthesis converts carbon dioxide and water into glucose and oxygen, using energy from sunlight.

IBCarb - Sweet Existence - Vascular Bundle

16. Vascular Bundle
36×36″
Acrylic Mixed Media on Canvas
Chloroplasts within cells with starches around. Plants are mostly made up of sugars, therefore can provide renewable substitutes for energy. A biorefinery converts plants into fuels, materials and chemicals. This will be a very important source of renewable energy as fossil fuel reserves diminish and sugars should have much lower carbon dioxide emissions.

IBCarb - Sweet Existence - Starch Brilliance

17. Starch Brilliance
36×36″
Acrylic Mixed Media on Canvas
A montage of different starches taken from slides under a microscope. Starch is produced by plants as an energy store and is a biopolymer made up of two different components, amylose and amylopectin. Both amylose and amylopectin are polysaccharides made up of repeating units of glucose.

IBCarb - Sweet Existence - Blue Green Algae I

18. Blue Green Algae I
36×36″
Acrylic Mixed Media on Canvas
Algae taken from cells. Blue background represents water. Taken from slides under a microscope. Algae are photosynthetic organisms that can produce a range of sugar-based molecules that are useful in everyday products including alginates which are used as gelling and thickening agents in food products.

IBCarb - Sweet Existence - Blue Green Algae II

19. Blue Green Algae II
36×36″
Acrylic Mixed Media on Canvas
In order to grow algae for their useful products, they can be industrially cultivated in an intense and controlled way using photobioreactors.

Previous Exhibitions:

BBSRC, Swindon, 6th December 2016

The Forum, University of Exeter, 6-9th June, Host: Professor Steve Eichhorn

Glycoscience Symposium – University of York, 8th December 2015, Host: Dr Martin Fascione

Science Spectacular – Manchester Museum, 31st October 2015