Welcome to the Gallery at the LRC
Art can capture a multitude of meanings and help us see the world in different ways, including a way to understand those with illness. The Center for Educational Development and Research at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA will be sponsoring a rotating series of shows in our new medical education building, the Learning Resource Center, curated by guest artist, Ted Meyer.
While illness is considered unpleasant - something to be observed from a distance, avoiding close inspection - we hope these images succeed in compelling viewers to do the opposite: to be drawn in closer and discover how it relates to the whole person.
"Curdled"Artwork by Liz Atkin
October 20-Dec 20, 2015
'Curdled' was first exhibited as a solo exhibition by Liz Atkin, commissioned by The Bethlem Gallery as part of the Anxiety 2014 Arts Festival in London from May 23rd - 3rd July.
The work was a personal exploration of the physical manifestations of anxiety, with a particular focus on the skin as a primary source for corporeal art. Through intimate photography, performance and installation, Atkin investigated the possibilities of marking, extending and transforming the skin. Compulsive Skin Picking, a condition related to anxiety disorders, dominated her body for more than 20 years and her practice aspires to de-stigmatise the illness, raise awareness and advocate recovery. Liz Atkin further illustrated the exhibition with a site-specific durational performance, exploring the inner sensations of anxiety with automatic writing and body-focussed repetitive behaviour, to transform the space and her own skin.
Anxiety Arts Festival 2014, presented a dynamic programme of visual art, film, performance, music, dance, theatre and talks spanning venues across London. It was curated by the Mental Health Foundation. The festival explored the causes and affects of anxiety, and how it can act as a creative force. It brought together leading and emerging artists to address anxiety from medical, social and historical perspectives, to individual, collective and contemporary viewpoints.
Liz Atkin - Visual Artist and Creative Practitioner
"But...You Look OK"Works by Deborah Sevett
Aug 26-Oct 5th, 2015
I've always been intuitive. I knew something was very wrong with me at the age of 12. I began having sore throats and told I was a hypochondriac. I grew up in the Drs. office which was 3 doors down from our home. I always marveled at the human body and the long words used to describe meds and conditions. Little did I know my B cells said, buzz off forever and don't come back! I had CVID. This would prove to be a lifetime of self-research and psychological pain for me.
I went on to university where I contracted Epstein Barr for the first time. I was in bed for 3 weeks freshman year. Therein started the antibiotic merry go round. The go rounds lasted over 30 years. This was not 'all in my head' yet a massive mystery of sorts. In art school, I began to paint things that bothered me. Like cells and amoeba and moving slimy things. I thought psychologically it would reverse my perverse reaction to the stimuli. That worked! I moved on to deeper meanings of these shapes. I was painting body parts and not fully realizing what was going on, but that is still my method as a painter. I let my 'in the zone space' guide me. Sometimes I would paint visions of things yet to pass. My desire at that juncture was to paint my fear.
While antibiotics failed, I tried all types of natural therapies. You name it, I've tried it. I felt like dreck all the time. The deal is, Hey, I look OK! How could I be sick? The thing that really made me question the over 30 doors I knocked on was that no one had the interest nor the foresight to find someone to help me. I looked OK! I began getting numerous pneumonia and this really scared me. I began searching for a detective because I knew I had to do it for myself or end up in a place I do not want to think about. It seemed eminent. I did find a specialist in KC who informed me there was good news and bad news. The good news, I will and have had this genetic issue most of my life. The bad news, I will have an IV of gamma globulin for the rest of my life. I was relieved. My first infusion went to war and kicked in on that pneumonia the next day. Then insurance wars ensued. It was an exhausting battle. I lost everything. My career as an Instructor, my marriage, my family and many friends. hence, the depression. I knew my art would never in any way, leave me or abandon me.
I love the color black. I knew other people rejected the color particularly in the mid 90's. It was 'dark and depressing' Not to me. After all what is the opposite of black? I found so many other colors within this color and made this my focus for many years. I was so insecure with all the rejection of physicians yet, sick 365 days of the year. Ths is my way of life. I vowed to zip it. No one wants to hear 'how you're doing' for real. I wanted to do a painting about pills but decided against it. After all, I was on ABX most of those days for 30 yr. running. Two Sinus surgeries, several lady surgeries, blood clots, tendon ligament problems, migraine, hospitalizations the list goes on.
When my son turned 19 and my marriage failed, I made a break to LA with two suitcases. I found I felt better with the temperate weather. Compared to Kansas City, this was paradise. I found an immunologist in Irvine who just happened to be besties with my former immunologist in KC. Telling him I had CVID and who tested me made the waters flow easily. I lived for 10 yr. under Dr. Guptas care. No more insurance wars! Finally, I could be at least, inwardly happy that I was off antibiotics for 6 years running! Wow, what a change. I have had to succumb to them five times since I've lived in southern CA. Big difference
Back to the painting. You will see many references to the mask I wore. The 'being ok mask' because no one wanted to hear about it. Even though my life had improved this was/is my MO. There, I've just outed myself. I have always been a 'spiritual type' and feel in this world I am not alone. The last two paintings are a bit more uplifting for those in the viewing community. There are the chakras, energy moving, the body moving with a little more ease. My intention as a student and painter was not to highlight illness. Looking back, it's just what I did. There are also many layered meanings. My hope is to bring awareness to CVID and PI because someone you know is suffering silently or being a hypochondriac.
For more information
Works by Damienne Merlina
April 12- June 30
Damienne Merlina is a savage, who resents referring to herself in the third person, except when she wants to. Born dominantly left handed, Damienne paints primarily with acrylic. Most pieces are mixed media and include spray paint, glue, chalk pastel, oil pastel, rocks, eyelashes, gloss, varnish, self esteem, ink, gel, curiosity and vulnerability.
Everything in my work is about relationship and experience. Texture, is ever present in my art, because our lives are not flat. Multiple aspects intersect in the most unexpected places. Overlap. Two colors you thought were never intended to live side by side find a way to settle in, parallel and pleasing. Chaos on the canvas tempered by quiet moments of peace. Some of my pieces have suffered a small rip or tear – or came to me that way in the first place. I leave it purposefully in the work. We are ALL torn. Each of us in our lives have suffered something that breaks us, but that does not mean that we cease to be beautiful. We regenerate. We renew. As it bears mentioning in this regard, my right arm is severed above the elbow. It was ripped off in an accident 11 years ago. There is something liberating about having a body shaped like a lightening bolt.
Many images depict one missing limb but it is more about accuracy than catharsis. Already an artist, this was not a way to work though the event, it’s more the observations that followed. Life in a different body. I am stared at a lot. I have traced my arm, affectionately known as ‘the Nub’ and made art of its distinct shape. All limbs have distinct shapes. Just like all people. There are certain types of cancer in children, which can sometimes result in amputation. Many veterans are returning from service with fewer parts than they began, and there are accidents everyday that result in missing limbs. I am going to trace Stumps and Nubs with the intention of creating something beautiful. Perspective is everything.
For me, creating is a constant exercise in overcoming fear.
My art is collaboration with the world around me. It’s a retelling and a reimagining of my emotions, and the triumphs and wounds of my heart. Which for each of us, I think is what truly dictates everything. I hold an intense empathy for the discord in our current world. Poverty. Detroit water crisis. Pussy riot. Cruelty. Homelessness. Mental illness. Bullying. Police Brutality. Fear. Self- acceptance. Growth. Liberation. Watching the evolution of change as we move closer toward understanding. My work is a celebration of the unconventional and a celebration of individuality and self.
Forward MotionWorks by Jen Raven
January 30 - March 10, 2O15
In 2004, I was diagnosed with Lupus and Fibromyalgia. In addition to many other symptoms, I began to lose some motor function, especially in my hands. Compounding these difficulties, were unresolved childhood memories, which suddenly began to surface, unbidden, and further complicate my already tumultuous mental landscape. Up to that point, I had spent much of my energies attempting to outrun my own pain and anger; quite suddenly I found myself unable to do any more running, physically or otherwise --I could not even hold steady a pencil, let alone a paintbrush.
I returned to large, easy-to-grasp toddler crayons, often holding one with both hands, and slowly I created a series of personal abstract sketches, that spoke of all the anger I'd been avoiding, for so long. As my health gradually improved, a few years on, I was encouraged to re-create these sketches into a series of paintings, which became known as 'Dine-In, Take-Out.' Building this body of work helped me further come to terms not only with my past, but also with the new directions my life had taken, as a result of my illness. Being forced to stop, and reconcile my past with the present, was, ultimately, constructive for me, and I believe my physical health has been strengthened, in part, as a result of my becoming healthier, emotionally.
Today my work is more progressive; My health and outlook have greatly improved since 2004, and my creative energies are focused in the present, or looking to the future. In addition to my ongoing solo projects in acrylics and assemblage, I've begun a series of collaborative concept photography projects, with fellow artists in various fields who also seek to tackle painful personal issues through their work. These collaborations have been highly rewarding: Through these projects, we seek to encourage a determination, within ourselves as well as others, toward courage, healing, and forward motion.
Venereal Narratives and Other Catchy TalesWorks by Daphne Hill
September 1 - Dec 10, 2014
Anxiety is the impetus for my work. I’m not a hypochondriac, nor a germ phobe. Not necessarily. I am the big sister of someone with Down Syndrome, and I have spent much of my life anticipating more genetic deviations, random diseases, epidemics and pandemics. When I had my first show, Venereal Narratives and Other Cautionary Tales, at the UCLA Learning Resource Center in 2010, I was mainly focused on STD’s, toxic molds, and a couple of food borne illnesses. Diseases, illnesses and inconveniences which were, by and large, preventable or treatable. In the past 4 years, I have developed a more global interest in zoonotic diseases like Avian Flu and Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever. Unlike STDs, these diseases are not always preventable. Whereas my work about Gonorrhea and Syphilis may have produced a self-conscious giggle from the viewer, the newest body of work about Ebola most definitely does not. While I used to worry that one of the gravest threats to my children’s health would be HIV/AIDS, it is now impossible to ignore the chance of Ebola or Avian Flu becoming an even more serious threat. These things are worrisome. Addressing these microscopic menaces on a macroscopic scale makes me feel like I have some modicum of control. I must make work about these things, attempting to make them more beautiful and palatable. If I don't, I feel that my mind may spin and spin and tangle in on itself with dread and worry.
And yet, I bet you’d think I’m completely normal.
Works by Various Artists
May 7 - August 30, 2014
June 14th, 2014, 2 - 4PM
What happens when you have a world wide call for art about pain? The world responds.
The pain of loneliness. The pain of post-traumatic stress. The pain of spinal stenosis, of uterine fibroids. How to explain one’s pain to another person, to make it real for someone else? By drawing it.
We have asked artist from all over the world to mail in some images of their pain experiences. All we asked is that the image arrive through the mail and illustrate some type of pain. They might not all seem painful to the viewer, but they do to the artist.
Art arrived from Asia, Europe, South America, as well as all over the USA and Canada.
Works by Dominic Quagliozzi
Feb 25 - May 1, 2014
My work looks at different facets of disease. I was born with a genetic terminal disease, Cystic Fibrosis (CF), which primarily affects the lungs and requires many hospitalizations and treatments. I am currently on the waiting list for a double lung transplant. With the use of painting, drawing, video and performance I take an autobiographical starting point to discuss life with a disease, body issues, humor amongst seriousness, and the social issues of illness.
Because I am in and out of the hospital so often (4-5 times a year for 2-3 weeks each time), I have found that my hospital room becomes my surrogate studio. I have made as much art in the hospital as I have made in my studio. Being able to create anywhere I am helps with the continuity of my life- my life feels less disjointed when I can filter my experience through art.
As Cystic Fibrosis advanced the deterioration of my lungs and I became less physically able, I transitioned my art practice to involve video art and performance. These mediums have helped me make art during times when I was more sick and rundown, allowing me to use my body and my circumstances firsthand in those very moments.
For Urban Light IV Pole, I took my home IVs to Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and repurposed Chris Burden’s Urban Light sculpture into a functional IV pole from which I hung an hour-long dose of an antibiotic. During the performance I talked with viewers about CF, art, and promoted becoming an organ donor.
Vest Sessions was a series of my normal daily treatments with only the location changing, from my home to Chung King Road in Chinatown as part of the exhibition Perform Chinatown.
In The Hospital Show I invited viewers into my hospital room for a gallery show; displaying drawings I had made while inpatient during that stay. I published a Press Release, had an opening reception and held gallery hours the next day all in my hospital room.
In my current painting series I use a first-person perspective to show the latest developments I’ve been through during a sharp decline in my health. I’ve abstracted or fragmented the figure and brought attention to the environment and objects or equipment as indicators of what is actually happening, rather than have the figure create the direct narrative. Laying in the ICU under a mountain of blankets, needing to check my blood sugars for newly diagnosed diabetes, having my blood taken and being tethered to oxygen tanks everywhere I go.
An important goal of mine is to take away the stigma of “being sick” and show how redemptive it is to show your sick self.
More work can be seen at www.ArtistDominic.com
Follow my Lung Transplant journey with my online performance piece www.ClamShell.me
Work by Rachael Jablo
December 2, 2013- Feb 19, 2014
I have had chronic migraine since June 2008. Without medication, the pain makes me lose the ability to speak; with medication, I have side effects that cause me to forget words. For My Days of Losing Words, I created color photographs that act as synthetic memories of my lost words and this time of being inarticulate and in pain. The one-word titles refer to words that got lost in a netherworld between pain and sanity. The self-portraits remain (inarticulately) untitled.
I never stop shooting. I carried a list of words that I’ve lost over time, and when I saw something that jogged my memory of a word, I shot it and crossed the word off. Early on in the illness, I was stuck either in my house or in medical spaces for months on end, so I started shooting words there. This early work consists mainly of three types of images: domestic still lifes; documentary images of medical spaces; and self-portraits at home and in medical spaces.
For a long time, I thought my headache was as good as it was going to get—constant, low-grade pain. Thanks to a medical breakthrough, I now finally have days without pain. This has meant the inclusion of new work that shows how my life has improved. Natural light, once rare in my photos, began to creep in and take over the images at the end of the series. The tunnel vision of my earlier photographs gave way to space, light, and, eventually, the vast expanse of a new horizon.
"My days of losing words" the book is available online at Amazon
Works by Ted Meyer
Sep 9th-Nov 15th, 2013
"It isn't just a scar. It's my scar" is something Artist Ted Meyer hears all the time. After years of doing work about his own rare illness, and becoming bored by his personal situation, Meyer changed focus and began visually telling the stories of other people who have been through major traumas. For over 15 years Meyer has been creating a graphic yet beautiful depiction of people’s suddenly altered bodies and the resulting scars in an ever-enlarging collection of artworks entitled, “Scarred for Life”. “Scarred for Life” continues to grow and now consists of almost 100 artistically enhanced monoprints taken directly from the scarred skin of his subjects. Each image – accompanied by a photographic portrait taken by Ted and a written story by his subject - tells a unique and intriguing story of medical crisis, resilience and healing.
The project’s title embodies a duality of ideas that are explored in depth: first, that medically related scars or physical disfigurements often have a profound lifelong impact on a patient’s self-identity, and secondly, that those scars have the potential to serve as powerful symbols of regeneration and life, and learning tools as well. Exploring facets of self-adornment, contemporary trends in body modification and the ways in which art has been used to redefine aesthetic norms, Scarred for Life presents ways in which medical patients can grow to view their scars as beautiful symbols of personal resilience.
The Scarred for Life project has grown into a lecture series, a book, and led Ted to his position as the first Guest Artist at UCLA Geffen School of Medicine.
April 1 - September 4, 2013
Susan Trachman was born in 1961 in the Rancho Park section of Los Angeles. She has loved art for as long as she can remember, After graduating from UCLA in 1984 with a BA in Design, Susan expressed her creativity by working as an Interior Designer doing commercial and residential work.
Susan was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in June of 1988 and began stockpiling materials from her various treatments almost immediately. It was her intent to do something with these materials someday. Susan’s two sons were born in 1994 and 1997 and she decided in 1996 to dedicate her energy to full-time Mom hood. “Someday” came approximately 7 years ago when between carpool runs she started conceptualizing her first piece. Since then Susan has created an impressive collection of work made from a variety of medical related objects that have become part of her daily life.
MRI images, medicine bottles, sharpes containers, syringes, and more, have all found their way into Susan’s work. Some of Susan’s pieces focus on the cost of her medical care and the large volume of supplies needed to keep her going day to day.As Susan’s MS progressed and her need for “tools” such as a cane, walker and occasionally a wheelchair were required, her focus remained on what she could do, not on what she could not do. This positive outlook is evident in all of her pieces.
In Susan’s words, “Having MS, like life itself is unpredictable . . . we all have something . . . and dwelling on the things that you have lost or can’t control does not change what is or what will be . . . but making something of what you have is all that you can do”. Her art sometimes beautiful and sometimes interesting is a testament to this philosophy and is an inspiration to all who struggle with the various challenges that life doles out.
January 9 - March 27, 2013
Photos by Susan Myrland
Dementia affects 1 in 8 Americans over the age of 65, and another person develops the disease every 68 seconds. By 2050, as many as 16 million people will have Alzheimer’s disease, the most common type of dementia. Once thought to be a normal part of aging, it’s now known that dementia is caused by damage to brain cells, affecting their ability to communicate. The disease is progressive, irreversible, and the sixth leading cause of death in the US.
Dementia hurts caregivers as well as patients. The Alzheimer’s Association states that more than 15 million Americans provide unpaid care to family members or persons with dementia. Given that the life expectancy of the patient averages eight years after diagnosis — but can be as high as 20 — it’s not surprising that more than 60 percent of caregivers rate their emotional stress as high or very high, and one-third report symptoms of depression.
Dementia has been called “a slow death of the mind.” For people caring for a loved one, that means an extended period of grieving as they watch their family member disappear. The little details go first: dates, conversations, small things that can be easily overlooked. Then important memories and relationships vanish. Eventually core personality traits and even basic instinctual functions can be forgotten.
While the brain dies, the caregiver still has to cope with a body — a human being who must be fed and cleaned; a person who might be lost, lonely or scared. The emotional toll is debilitating. The caregiver spends every moment trying to redirect behaviors, fend off problems, answer repetitive questions, ease agitation and provide comfort. The caregiver may be responsible for the patient’s financial and medical well-being, entrusted with making crucial decisions — or conversely, the caregiver may feel a moral obligation but have no legal power. On top of everything, the caregiver may be juggling a job and other family members.
This makes the medical professional’s job complicated. He or she will be interacting with a patient who has fluctuating degrees of ability, and a caregiver who may not have legal authority, but is on the front lines.
The David Geffen School of Medicine will present an exhibition of photographs, “Two Belts,” showing the perspective of a daughter and caregiver. Susan Myrland kept a visual diary of the last few years of her mother’s life, chronicling the ups and downs of their time together. The photos were publicly available on Flickr as a way for family members to stay involved. In a surprising turn of events, they gained a large audience outside of the family. People could relate to the story of Susan and her mother Ginny, because they saw dementia affecting their parents and grandparents.
The photographs and narrative show two women fighting to maintain a quality of life against the relentless downward pull of disease. They are funny, heartbreaking, and unflinchingly honest.
To hear Susan's KCRW interview Click here
August 10 - October 15, 2012
Works by Michael K. Arata, Jada Fabrizio, Debbie Smith Mezzetta,
Launa D. Romoff, Katie Carney and Jeffrey Shagawat
“You have cancer.” Three of the most terrifying words you may ever hear. Fear of harsh treatments, physical decline, and possible death would be a normal reaction in most people on such a diagnosis. But for some, cancer can be an artistic motivator and creative resource from which to draw images of hope.
“You Have... Cancer” is proud to present the works of five artists who have been though the worst and used that experience to create art.
Art about aching backs
Works by Ellen Cantor, Laura Ferguson, Ted Meyer
April 10 - July 20, 2012
According to statistics, 90% of Americans will experience back pain at one time or other in their lives. Some will have pain for a day or two, others a few weeks; many will suffer for months or even years. Back to Back displays work by three artist who have used back pain as sorce material for their art.
Works by Carol Es
January 9 - March 7, 2012
Fascinated with biology after being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and Lupus, Los Angeles artist, Carol Es. wanted to learn how these diseases affected the central nervous system. She began to see medical images as visionary compositions she could use in her art. Es mainly uses garment patterns and textiles in her artwork, so combining the two subjects resulted into a vast collection of both relevant and illogical experiments. Some pieces were clearly illustrative of these diseases, while others took quite an imaginative turn. Incorporating embroidery, sewing pins, master garment patterns, stitching, textiles, brings about a personal narrative into the art that interweaves a profound connection between the artist and the viewer.
"I hope the viewer will enjoy the handmade, crafted aspect of my work, and the imagination that goes into every piece. I aim to bring a smile, and hopefully some laughter, to my viewers." -Carol Es Carol’s works are featured in numerous private and public collections, including the Getty Museum, Brooklyn Museum, UCLA Special Collections, the Jaffe Collection, and Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris. She has exhibited at the Riverside Art Museum, Torrance Art Museum, Santa Monica Museum of Art, the Craft & Folk Art Museum, and Zimmer Children's Museum. She is also a two-time recipient of the ARC Grant from the Durfee Foundation and was recently awarded the prestigious Pollock-Krasner Fellowship. She is represented by Koelsch Gallery in Houston and George Billis Gallery in Los Angeles, California.
View Her work at:
Work by Rose-Lynn Fisher
July 18 - October 14, 2011
Micrographs of Bone viewed through a Scanning ElectronMicroscope (SEM) by Rose-Lynn Fisher, and Research Images from the Macro-Scale Imaging Core
Facility California NanoSystems Institute University of California
Self-portraits by adults with developmental disabilities
January 18-March 10, 2011
AM ME presents the work of up to 30 visual artists from St. Madeleine Sophie's Center for adults with developmental disabilities in El Cajon, California. Each artwork is presented with a short biography written by the artist. Additional information about each artist and their work is supplied by Wendy Morris, Administrator of St. Sophie's Gallery. This collection of original self-portraits powerfully refutes many of our stereotyped assumptions about people with developmental disabilities and their capacity for depth of knowledge, emotional insight and creative talent.
Read the story and see the video here
Artwork by Daphne Hill
Sept 10, 2010 –January 12, 2011
The Venereal Narrative Series emerged after artist Daphne Hill had "the talk" about safe sex with her 11 year-old son. Hill began to think about sexually transmitted diseases and their impact on people over the centuries. Her resulting mixed media collages depict silhouetted romantic couples in which one or both partners suffers from a sexually transmitted disease; their personal stories are left to the viewer's imagination. Anxiety – about random diseases, epidemics and genetic deviations – fuels much of what Hill creates: "Instead of wallowing in worry and anxiety, I'm compelled to express these health issues as beautiful and palatable, even funny." The result is a collection of whimsically startling images that compel viewers to examine their own fears about communicable diseases and the hidden potential they have to profoundly impact self, loved ones and society at large.
Read the story and see an interview with Daphne here