Home » ARx2 » The Space Between Two

The Space Between Two

by Zach Valent and Derek Cridebring


The Space Between Two is a plaster-cast triptych that was inspired by research into extracellular vesicles (EVs) and the invisible world of cell-to-cell communication. The imagery is most easily understood as a representation of what you might see when looking under a microscope at cellular matter or a medical illustration found in a textbook. Once thought of as waste debris shed by cells, EVs are now acknowledged as messengers that carry vital information throughout the body. The Space Between Two captures the likeness of EVs and extracellular space through the relief casting of striated patterns created from recycled literary documents collected from the Translational Genomic Research Institute.

About the Process

Dr. Derek Cridebring and Zach Valent have numerous common interests and there were components of each of their lives and work that led them to collaborate for this exhibition. Valent was born at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria, Illinois which also happened to be a hospital system that Dr. Cridebring had just started working with on a major translational research project. Additionally, Valent had some previous knowledge of the life-changing impact of Dr. Cridebring’s research into extracellular vesicles. His wife is a nurse working in oncology and in recent years has been involved in facilitating clinical trials in CAR-T therapy and tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes, which is another cornerstone of Dr. Cridebring’s translational research.

Valent is currently focused on making artwork using recycled paper products which he organizes into striated compositions that resemble a variety of organic substances. Dr. Cridebring was drawn to the aesthetic quality and uniqueness of Valent’s artwork. Through numerous visits, they developed a plan to construct a composition using recycled documents relative to Dr. Cridebring’s research.

Meet the Team

Artist: Zach Valent

Zach Valent is an interdisciplinary visual artist who creates objects and installations that are encouraged by his fascination with growth and time. His art encompasses a multitude of processes ranging from mold making and casting to metal fabrication, woodworking, digital fabrication, and materials exploration. Valent received a BFA in sculpture from Southern Illinois University Carbondale in 2014, and an MFA in studio arts from Arizona State University in 2017. Valent*s work has been admired, exhibited, and collected internationally. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Nathan Cummings Travel Fellowship, The Rickert Ziebold Trust Award, and a Windgate Charitable Foundation for the Arts Award.

Researcher: Derek Cridebring

Derek Cridebring, Ph.D. is the Vice President, Molecular Medicine Division and Clinical Partner Relations at the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen). He was born and raised in Phoenix and earned his B.S. in biochemistry at the University of Arizona. During his time at the UArizona he joined the Army Reserves and earned the distinction of Soldier of the Year of the 7220th Reserve Unit. After finishing his bachelor*s degree, Dr. Cridebring attended Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, TX, obtaining his Ph.D. for his work on the neurodegenerative disease ALS. Also, during his time in graduate school, his reserve unit was called to active duty and he served a year in Iraq as a Preventive Medicine Specialist during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Dr. Cridebring is a leader for TGen*s most novel molecular medicine and early detection initiatives. He is responsible for surveying the global scientific landscape, nurturing collaborations with impactful goals and developing biopharma initiatives. Overseeing more than 250 trials and translational research strategies, he is heavily involved in coordinating strategic partnerships, including grants, philanthropy and commercializations.

Closer Look:

Medium: Plaster, glass, expandable foam, and paint

Specifications: 50″x50″

Cost of Piece: $6,200