My art begins where my understanding of medicine ends. Professional medical illustration teaches audiences health, injury, and the technical aspects of surgery. Though I’ve observed surgery in my training, I don’t get to interact with patients in a clinical setting. I’ve yearned for that connection. The spiritual aspects of caring for the human body and spirit move me deeply. So, it is the subject of my imagination and fine art.
The exhibit you see before you includes two distinct bodies of work that both involve diagnostic films. I choose select films, print them and then work back into them with either pastel, encaustic, or oil. The first situated around the outside of the room is called the “X-Ray Visions Series”; created between 2008 and 2016. These images are anonymous patient films that explore the “art” of patient care: like working as team, the dedication required for physical rehabilitation, the joy of birth, the mystery of death and the strange possibilities that come with a sudden change in health status.
Chest Xray, paper, chalk, guache
20″ x 24″
Chest xray, chalk, gouache, colored pencil
16″ x 16″
Salpingogram, chalk, gouache, colored pencil
13″ x 13″
The second group is called “There is Medicine in a Story”. It was created in response to being chosen as the first recipient of the Marianne Oberg Foundation for Spiritual art. Though I could have taken any number of new directions, it was the story of the foundation’s namesake that moved me. Marianne Oberg was a brilliant woman and artist whose life was tragically cut short. I asked her husband, Bob Oberg, permission to use her final diagnostic films to inspire art in response to the journey though physical form and into the realm of spirit. Bob trusted me. He inspired me with his writing.
Abdominal CT, mixed media
20″ x 20″
In the studio I contemplated the power of enduring love, listened to teachings of Thich Nat Hanh, listened to books about the afterlife, began to practice meditation on a more frequent basis. In May, events unfolded that strengthened my belief of spiritual guidance. My hope is that this body of work will inspire you to find the Medicine in Your Story.
You are not alone.
The exhibit also includes a sculpture by Marianne Oberg and a painting by Carlos Alvarez Cotera. I have been planning a book Communion: Love Continues, which will include photographs of Marianne’s artwork and poems by me. For the cover I wanted Carlos to create a painting inspired by Marianne’s abstract white angel sculpture.
Our original conception was to use soft, muted colors. As Carlos worked, however, he was drawn to go strong with a deep purple at the base. He “saw” the angel, with this result.