Purcell is an artistís artist who seems to have difficulty conceiving of herself as an artist. This may be why so many artists and curators have such high respect for her work, which is mostly viewed in books and science and natural history institutions, and is currently on display in the Museum of Jurassic Technology. For this exhibition, Purcell presents photographs of objects/specimens that generated mythologies but are based in biological reality. The photographs in these series such as the conjoined twins and dog heads are of things she discovered that attributed significance unrelated to their true meaning and therefore given a false history that was perpetuated for many years.

Purcell is also well known for numerous collaborations with her friends Ricky Jay and Stephen Jay Gould, the late epic thinker and visionary. In Illuminations: A Bestiary, Gould and Purcell present a truly pivotal taxonomic moment in the convergence of science and art. Organizing a book with a pre-Enlightenment system, the bestiary (alphabetically based) poised the project to accomplished two specific tasks: