The beauty in the beast series looks at science with a different perspective. Bacteria, viruses, cancers, lethal pathogens, and illnesses and diseases, which there are no known cures are viewed as harbingers of death and dying.
Rather than focusing on the diseases and fatalities these organisms bring, the beauty in the beast series concentrates on the organism itself. The beauty is expressed in the simple lines of a deadly organism (beast), in the simplicity of an organism’s locomotion or metabolism, or simply in the colors of that particular organism.
shut out 1
This painting is the prequel to ‘shut out 2.’ Each circle represents the visual field of the outside world from the perspective of a person experiencing a retinal detachment. Read what’s going on, from left to right:
Circle 1 – full vision with floaters
Circle 2 – the small gray disk is the area in which the retina begins detaching
Circle 3 – the area of the detaching retina is expanding as represented by the gray area.
Circle 4 – a small portion of a beautiful sunset is all that is seen when the retina is three quarters detached. The black rea feels heavy, like lead, and dead.
Materials: oil, eucalyptus leaves, wood shavings, river birch bark on canvas, 24″ x 48″. $1,525.
shut out 2
The 8 sections in the painting are the actual images seen in my operated eye 12 to 14 days after retinal detachment surgery. Changes in size, color, visual acuity, pupil size, time and location were documented at the time of change and serves as the reference for this painting…meaning, no artistic license is taken. Prequels and sequels to ‘inner vision’ are already in progress.
Surgery for retinal detachment is an emergency intervention which encompasses 3 different procedures performed simultaneously to maximize full re-attachment of the retina, and these are: scleral buckle, removal of vitreous gel from behind the retina (called vitrectomy), and inserting a gas bubble. The healing process can take 3 to 6 months, depending on the individual.
In retinal detachment surgery, the gas bubble is usually black as seen in many of the images in the painting. But for me, the gas bubble color changed to brilliant hues of blues, greens and reds. Thinking light as the contributing factor for the changing colors of the gas bubble when it ‘should have been’ black, I closed the operated eye. However, the colors intensified and became more brilliant. Also of interest, is the smaller colorful circular shapes which I call the “nucleus” for lack of a better word, and looked like a living, breathing thing pulsating with life.
Do you really want to know what retinal detachment surgery is like? Read on.
…disorientation…unsteadiness…gas bubble…despair…fear of not ever seeing again…never seeing light…disequilibrium…faltering…desolate…ugly…the “bad eye”…in the abyss…moments of panic…moments of anxiety…i want my old life back…what’s going to happen to me?….i need to see to paint…i am so tired of this shit!…i’m scared…wish for 100% vision…my “good eye”…tears…darkness…god, please let me see again…why can’t this happen to criminals?…i’m afraid i’ll never see again…such fatigue…will i ever be able to see again?…the rationalization: “ok, if i’m able to see again, i’ll view it as a benefit”…how hard is it to learn Braille?…i’m disabled…never thought of myself as being disabled…protective of my “good eye”…fear of another retinal detachment in same eye…greater fear of retinal detachment in “good eye”…before you can conquer a beast, you first must make it beautiful…the pupil is enormous!…i can’t take this anymore!…i am NOT going to let this disability consume or control my life!…i hope i’m not going to be blind…my pupils are equal!…the colors are incredible…frosty vision…this is sooooo cool!…the gas bubble looks like a living, breathing thing…vision is like looking through frosted glass…
Materials: oil on canvas, 24” x 48”. $1,525.
aftermath of Tay Sachs
This painting is the sequel to ‘FREE!’. The flowers are bleeding hearts (dicentra), and the circular images represent neurons filled with an abnormal fatty substance which prevents the nervous system from developing.
Materials: oil on canvas, 36” x 36”, original sold.
An astrocytoma is a tumor of the central nervous system that develops from the large, star-shaped glial cells known as astrocytes. Most often, astrocytomas occur in the brain, especially in the frontal and temporal lobes of the cerebrum, but occasionally they appear along the spinal cord. Causes of brain tumors are not known. For more information, visit cancer.org.
Materials: oil on canvas, 36” x 36”, $2,120.
Infection with the ebola virus is a severe, often-fatal disease (ebola hemorrhagic fever) in humans and nonhuman primates (monkeys, gorillas and chimpanzees) that has appeared sporadically since its first recognition in 1976. The disease, ebola virus is named after a river in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire) in Africa, where it was first recognized. The exact origin, locations, and natural habitat of ebola virus remain unknown.
Materials: oil on canvas, 40″ x 30″; $1,590.
Avian influenza is an infection caused by avian (bird) influenza (flu) viruses. These influenza viruses occur naturally among birds. Wild birds worldwide carry the viruses in their intestines, but usually do not get sick from them. Usually, “avian influenza virus” refers to influenza A viruses found chiefly in birds, but infections with these viruses can occur in humans.
Materials: alkyd (oil based) on canvas, 30” x 40”, $1,590.
Human papillomaviruses (hpvs) are a group of over 100 related viruses. They are called papillomaviruses because certain types may cause warts, or papillomas, which are noncancerous growths and are different from those that cause growths in the throat or genital area. Genital hpv infections are very common and are sexually transmitted. Hpvs are high communicable, and both men and women can be carriers of hpv.
Most hpv infections occur without any symptoms and go away without any treatment over the course of a few years. However, hpv infection sometimes persists for many years, with or without causing cell abnormalities. Some types of hpv are associated with cervical cancer – these are called high-risk hpvs.
The hpv vaccine, Gardasil, has created controversy among conservative and pharmaceutical groups. Issues such as giving a false sense of security regarding sex to young girls, increasing promiscuity to mandating vaccination with Gardasil for school attendance are a few topics of concern.
In the painting, the circular images are hpv attacking from above and nestled in the skin cells and mucous membranes.
Materials: acrylic on canvas, 36” x 36”, $2,120.