Did You See It Coming?
Biology is one of my most intense fascinations, and it has been since I was a child. As I got older, my passion for art grew and overlapped with my love for biology. Biology, however, is unforgiving, unknowing, and does not care about the lives it describes through its clinical methodologies. I learned this fact through personal experience. My mother, my best friend, my mentor, and my inspiration was diagnosed with Stage III brain cancer. The day I discovered this was the way that I declared an internal war with the unfeeling calculations of science.
Doctors dedicate their life to studying this emotionless science. They must look at cases from a stoic, guarded standpoint. They can talk to us like we’re ignorant of any fancy terms or the true meanings of the terms that describe her situation. Art is inherently emotional. As a practice, it is made to make the viewer feel something. It communicates in a way that sometimes the most terrifying or meaningful of words cannot. There has always been an interesting relationship between the two disciplines, and many believe they cannot interact since they are so inherently different. Together, though, they can communicate a message not easily described with fancy terms. Together they create a new understanding of the analytical and creative.
I use Plexiglass in this series to tie into my title: Did You See It Coming? The viewer sees through the glass but is obstructed by the body parts. The pieces spin independent of each other, so the viewer can have some semblance of control over the human body. I depict each image representationally with narratives written on the back. These narratives are to show my personal connection with the pieces as well as some of the scientific jargon used to describe the medical condition my mother is battling. I use colored pencil and graphite for the simple reason that it creates a gorgeous representation of reality. My goal is to show the viewer parts of their own body they might not often think of and to force them to think about their bodies in different ways. I choose body parts that are affected by various diseases, and I show them in different states of healthiness or decay.
Through drawing different body parts, their medical properties, and their stages of deterioration, I have found some semblance of control and understanding. Through the stories I have written on the backs of these artworks, I have found a way to communicate my thoughts and feelings while refraining from breaking down every time I think about her. If I can control how the body is shown on paper, then maybe I can find a way to control my strength and composure towards my mother. Maybe I can find a way to honor what she is going through. Maybe, just maybe, I can find a way to stop it.
Colored pencil, 2' 1.25" x 4"
© 2019 Lauren Kennedy, All Rights Reserved
anatomy, brain, grayscale, drawing