The mind can be both fascinating and mystifying. We know it controls our motor function and, in many ways, works on its own without our knowing and often without our complete consent. We as humans try and mastermind our brains. We learn to play instruments, understand complex mathematical problems, and use our minds to overcome unwelcome habits. The brain as an object is equally interesting; a large mass of completely unique, white/grey matter. How does an organ that looks like this control our every thought, move, and decision? Maryland Art Place is pleased to present “On the Mind”, an exhibition that explores varying perspectives on the brain by artists Monica Lopez Gonzales, Jon Malis, Lee Gainer & Nancy Andrews.
Monica Lopez Gonzales takes a detailed look at our minds on creativity. Through her studies on improvisation she unfolds what happens when one part of the brain assumes all responsibility in the creative process, while the other part of the brain quite literally lays dormant. Monica states, “I use both improvisatory techniques within black and white photography, and musical improvisation within cinema and theatre to explore the process of spontaneous creative thinking and emotion perception.”
Artist, Jon Malis explores the brain as an object and early attempts to capture, read, preserve and understand the brain. Through his photography we, the onlookers, may view the brain as both terrifying and beautiful. His images examine an archive of hundred-year-old scientific studies of the human brain, produced by pathologists at Saint Elizabeth's Hospital, one of the oldest mental health institutions in this country.
Conversely, Lee Gainer explores memories; how they are constructed and relied upon. Her vibrant acrylic paintings include a multitude of overlapping imagery, harking on the confusion ‘that our memories may inhibit our ability to accurately recall a past experience or place’.
Lastly, Nancy Andrews uses her personal experiences as a platform for intense dialogue surrounding delirium and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after her stay in a post-operative, intensive care unit (ICU) in 2006. Nancy explores her memories through the creation of drawings and motion pictures in an effort to reconstruct and externalize her experience in the hospital. The creative output works with material related to very dark hallucinations during her ICU stay and the after effects of health-related trauma. She has since dedicated much energy to educating the public through her art about post-ICU PTSD, delirium in the ICU and the many ways individuals can be affected by these conditions.
Nancy Andrews will be presenting a screening of her film, “The Phamtom Limb” in conjunction with this exhibition at the Maryland Institute College of Art, February 25, 2015 at 8pm. The screening will include a panel discussion with two leading health professionals in the area of delirium, Karin Neufeld and Marianne Shaughnessy who are part of the American Delirium Society.
Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. “On the Mind” is supported by the American Delirium Society who will be printing bookmarks for the exhibition to raise awareness about issues related to PTSD and delirium.