Radiation to my brain and entire spinal column was absolute hell, that is not hyperbole. I'm still experiencing the effects almost a month out. I have scans on June 9th to see how my cancer has progressed/regressed at this point. There's no more viable treatment options and they have recommended me to hospice. I'm still hoping to try a clinical trial if it fits. We'll see. Right now, after being in nonstop treatment for the last year, I just want to live life feeling as well as possible.
Which leads me to my art show opening this Saturday in Gramercy park-- I hope any readers from the NY area can come. Here is a flyer, and I'm also posting my artist statement below.
I believe that a human being is fundamentally a spiritual being, and that our visible world must be extended to encompass all of the invisible energies with which we have lost contact, or from which we have been alienated.
To make art is to take from one's inner world and make it material, to give it life in the physical realm. Keats said that poets are the midwives of reality. Our thoughts and feelings are diaphanous and ephemeral, yet our creation can be sensed and shared. With this we can communicate what is otherwise unknowable and save what would otherwise be lost.
As the artist or midwife functions as a bridge to another world, so, too, does the Medium vacillate between material and immaterial. In the nineteenth century, Mediums would display an emesis of cloth from various orifices, known as ectoplasm—the physical manifestation of the soul.
In Brazil there is a long history of Spiritism, a mysterious mélange of Catholicism and shamanistic mysticism— the belief that the medium is a conduit for spirits, and those spirits have the divine ability to heal. After the trauma of battling cancer for almost a decade, I set out on a pilgrimage to see the renowned Spiritist medium Joao de Deus.
It is said this faith healer conjures the spirits of the greatest doctors throughout history to perform psychic medical miracles. I was, and still am, in need of a miracle. My journey to Joao was as much about finding hope as it was about finding a cure.
Viaticum is the receiving of the Eucharist, the bread and body of Christ before death. In times before Catholicism, pagans would place a coin in the mouths of deceased to provide toll for the underworld. The viaticum can be considered provisions for a journey— it is meant to provide spiritual victuals and safe passage.
According to Beuys, art possesses curative properties; the function of art is to heal. The creation of this series is my own Viaticum— sustenance for the spirit, fuel to keep going.