The Art of Science

Written by on January 9, 2012 in Art - No comments

By Leigh Ann Simpson

Traditionally art and science have been thought of as complete opposites. One would never expect to paint in science class or conduct experiments in an art class. However, are they truly complete antithesis? Scientists and artists, particularly abstract artists, are closely linked by the way they often blindly approach their work. While their tools are different, neither the artist nor the scientist knows what the end result of their efforts will be; they are conducting an experiment.

Eduardo Lapetina has proven that there is truth to this theory. During his extensive career as a brilliant medical scientist he spent countless hours in labs conducting research. Today, as an artist, he aplies the same experimental approach that he used in his research to his extraordinary abstract paintings. The transition from science to art came naturally to Lapetina.

“The creation of abstract paintings is not much different than what I did in science. When you are immersed in an experiment, you don’t know what the final answer will be and you are often surprised by the outcome,” says Lapetina.

Lapetina was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and after attending medical school there he left for a fellowship in London. Eventually he was recruited to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he conducted cardiovascular research in thrombosis and arteriosclerosis that led to groundbreaking discoveries. For 35 years he regularly travelled internationally to present his research and give lectures. Through his travels he was able to visit some of the world’s most renowned art museums and during this time he developed his love for abstract art. Over the years Lapetina has acquired an impressive collection of abstract paintings that he now displays in his home.

Ten years ago, his battle with Multiple Sclerosis forced him to retire early from medical research, a career move that he says was not easy to make.

“At first I thought, ‘What am I going to do with my life?’” Lapetina recalls. “Then one afternoon as I was reading the paper I saw an ad for a painting class on campus that was scheduled to start in an hour, without hesitation I left my house, went to the class and I never looked back.”

Since that first painting class he has gone on to develop a one of a kind technique, unprecedented by other artists. His paintings have a unique textured appearance that is created by applying layers upon layers of different colored paints. To construct these layers he employs several methods of application that can vary from pouring, splashing and dipping sometimes entire tubes of acrylic paint to his canvas. Then, using only a palette knife, he begins to manipulate the layers, allowing some colors to be revealed while others remain hidden. Remarkably, Lapetina approaches all of his paintings without any premeditated ideas or imagery. As he applies more layers and more colors are revealed, the concept of the painting begins to emerge, essentially allowing the paint to guide him. His work and unusual artistry is hailed by his instructors and has fascinated local art enthusiasts. Lapetina’s paintings are frequently showcased in art galleries and regional exhibitions throughout N.C., S.C. and Va.

Ironically Lapetina says that he never saw himself becoming an artist, even though he had a deep appreciation for abstract art he thought he would never have any artistic talent. Today, he is very happy for the opportunity to have a career that he is equally, if not more passionate about, than medicine.

“As an artist, I feel free. There are no reports to turn in on time, no hierarchy or pressure. I am able to work completely at my own pace; I simply paint when I feel like it.”

He admits that he often still misses his research; he says that once a week he dreams that he is back in the lab experimenting again, which assures him that his passion for discovery will never fade.

To find out more information about Eduardo Lapetina please visit

Leave a Comment

Please type the characters of this captcha image in the input box

Please type the characters of this captcha image in the input box