Abbreviated Version: My artist statement.
The exhibition opens: February 4th 2016 starting at 5:00 p.m. and ending at 7:00 p.m.
Location: Shemer Art Center 5005 East Camelback Road, Phoenix, AZ 85018
My web site
“If I got rid of my demons, I’d lose my angels,” said the late Playwright Tennessee Williams. The idea of the artist single mindedly following a vision oblivious to the world and suffering for it is a cliché. But is it? The connection between intellectual achievement and madness could be far less tenuous than previously believed. Dr Kay Jamison made a compelling case for the tie between bipolar disorder and artistic expression in “Touched with Fire: Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament.”
The list of artists who have had mental illnesses reads like a who is who in fine art. Before I was diagnosed with Bipolar disorder, it was not something I had given much thought. It was not until I was diagnosed did I realize that for me this affliction was both a blessing and curse.
Once called Manic Depressive, what makes this brain disease valuable for creativity is that it allows you to think quickly, connect unlikely ideas and have the energy to stubbornly persist where others relent. The enthusiasm, the willingness to take risks, the flaunting of convention and the grand operatic gestures are the part of what makes this so invigorating. Even the depressions allow you to experience pain to such a degree that you can express the most profound sorrow without reservation.
What creates also destroys. The list of artists, scientists and writers who committed suicide, destroyed themselves or had great difficulty coping with the world is long, not short. The kind of effort being original demands is great. It can take a huge toll.
As I was dealing with my own demons, and angels, I thought why not make the process of dealing with bipolar the subject of an exhibition. This was not art as therapy. Nearly anyone can do that. That may not even be interesting to see. But, a serious investigation into bipolar as a source of inspiration for imagery and ideas, that to me had merit.
Describing epic lows, depicting exuberant highs, that is the stuff of which all art is made. It is the mixture of the beautiful with the tragic. It is a balancing act between the heavens above and the dark canyons below.
When I began this journey, I was not sure what I would find. I was traveling with just nerves, feelings and a battered mind. I was focused, excited and up one day, then down and depressed the next. Through all of this, I created.
Eventually, the driving force of creativity returned. Between Two Poles is a travelogue of my adventure within bipolar and the universal themes that art has always been drawn, the glorious and the tragic.