Gestalt Aetiology

Gestalt Aetiology is my final exhibition that was created during my BA at Michaelis School of Fine arts.

Having been diagnosed with multiple strains of Lymes disease, an intracellular parasite, my work is concerned with processing my illness through studio practice. The process of working in studio sets up a space that lets me come to terms with this illness and work through my feelings regarding my condition. My works use the illness that I have as a springboard in order to comment on the relationship humans have with our medicine as well as our relationship with our own biological landscapes.

I made my “Cell Landscape” drawings as a means for visualizing and representing the effect that this disease has on me physically and emotionally. Inspired by pictures of infected blood I sought to give purchase to the effects that this illness produces. This disease distorts not only one’s physicality but mentality as well. “Cell Landscape” was created using one of my medications that treats parasitic infections and other blood related problems; Methylene Blue. These drawings are a place for me to come to terms with the condition. The drawings give space to the emotional side of being sick and having to be medicated to achieve a sense of normalcy.

My concrete assemblage “Derelict Immunity” is an exploration of the effects of Lymes disease on the immune system. I wanted to explore how complex and interrelated our lives as humans are to the unseen landscape of chemicals and biologies that we are intrinsically connected to. The many derelict forms that this work consists of represent how our immune systems can get overloaded by circumstances and fall into a state of sub-optimal performance. This overloading of the immune system is a subtle sign of Lymes disease that gets more severe as the disease progresses, leaving your body in a derelict state of inoperability. The pieces that make up “Derelict Immunity” are familiar and yet unknown and alien. I developed many methods to create concrete forms that could be read as bodily manifestations. By combining multiple different methods together, I create a landscape of pieces that comment on our immersion in our biological landscape.

My work “Panacea” delves into the idea of a cure – all medicine, a panacea. This work consists of patinated copper sheets that encapsulate the reaction that objects in this world have with the chemicals we live alongside. Copper, much like other metals ‘rusts’ in order to protect itself, however unlike other metals copper rusts in a way that does not eventually destroy itself the way iron would. By the process of patination, the copper produces its own protection from the world, its own ‘panacea’. I have used the byproduct of this patination to create a copper sulfate pill that represents the want to achieve the impossible, a miracle cure-all medicine. The irony here is that copper sulfate is a toxic substance. This relation between cure and toxicity is a comment on how our reliance on medicine sometimes brings with it more problems than it solves.