art in medicine – nothing in stasis

I spend the day with the crew at the University of Arizona’s medical school. I am in downtown Phoenix, at the Health Sciences Education Building, installing Nothing In Stasis, my most recent (years of work actually) drawings and paintings.

Walking in this morning, I see a group of students looking closely at my largest canvas that at the moment leans against a wall. I hear someone call out the name of a muscle. Someone else points out the thyroid.  I smile as I approach them and someone asks,  Are you the artist?  This is so accurate, she says. I hope so, I respond. I identify the figures in the painting and we talk about the content.

In between classes I catch students looking at artwork.  Either I am introduced by someone or I introduce myself. I completely enjoy it.

I shoot a series of photos ↓ while sitting in the corner working out a hanging system. Again, students are between classes. One young woman looks at one drawing and then another. She calls a friend over and says something to her as she points. I decide to walk over and introduce myself (all the while feeling like John Quiñones on What Would You Do).

The one female asks me if the surrounding organs signify something about the people depicted.

Yes! You’re correct!
Are they people you know?
My niece, my father and my mother. 

We discuss the compositions of my parents.  They clearly recognize and appreciate the details.

I don’t know how many students I connect with on this busy afternoon but each conversation brings insight.  Are you a medical doctor? My not so scientific response – No, but maybe in another life I was.

Before the afternoon is over I gather how meaningful the usual art works are  to the students, faculty, and staff. They have rotating exhibitions here. And for some reason this last month there has been no art on their walls. I am, in fact, putting my work up 2 weeks ahead of schedule. I clearly hear and see the art element is missed by most everyone.

I speak with Cynthia Standley,  who among other things organizes the Art in Medicine programming. We discuss the value of art in this particular educational setting. We talk about the connection between art and medicine (science) in terms of skill building: observation, critical thinking and communication. She notes how the skills enhance patient care. I note these are the very same skills I teach my drawing students.

I learn they have a partnership with the Phoenix Arts Museum as does our Department of Art at Phoenix College.

At the end of a long day, I sit and watch the natural light flood the now quiet area.

On a side note: When I agree to have a solo at the medical school, I am unaware they have a room with glass walls ↑ and they don’t know I have 2-sided translucent drawings. A medical school with glass walls…perfect!

My studio is empty. I have 60-plus drawings and paintings hanging in the Health Sciences Education Building at the Phoenix Bio-Medical Campus located a few blocks South of the Roosevelt Row Arts District.

The exhibition titled Nothing In Stasis will be showing to April of 2018. The area is open to the public and allows for visitors. An artist reception is in the planning for February’s First Friday. More info to come.


Health Sciences Education Building
Phoenix Biomedical Campus (PBC)
435 N. 5th Street
Phoenix, AZ 85004-2230
Map (PDF)
Parking Information

no woman is an island

Hi. I love your Torso images. Do you have similar work available? Dennis

This simple note arrives on September 13, 2014. Chosen for the State of the Art, Discovering American Art Now exhibition at the Crystal Bridges Museum, my studio visit makes the cover of the arts section in the NYT.  I receive email from across the country.
It still makes me smile. I am overwhelmed in the best possible way.

Eventually Dennis inquires about a commission. He let me know he’d prefer a male, anterior view anatomy study. He’s a cardiologist, the connection to the heart is the draw. Willing to wait as long as needed (his words), I decide he’s a patient man. In our correspondence I also gather he’s thoughtful. He describes how he works with artists to foster both creativity and opportunity. He writes that he rarely buys paintings, though he loves and collects glass sculpture.

Fast forward to September 2017

Hi Monica – I contacted you a few years ago … I had discussed a piece in your torso series. Do you have any completed works in line with that body of work you might have for sale at present?  Dennis

I have work and send him images. It doesn’t take him long to decide on a painting titled  Front Body, Male.

Front Body, Male,  Casein and Gesso on Canvas,  34 x 13″

I now know his full name is Dr. Dennis Chugh.  I very much appreciate his reconnecting after all this time.

Front Body, Male will be on display at the University of Arizona medical school opening in a few short weeks.  I am happy to note the painting is his. I will borrow it for the exhibit, Nothing In Stasis. The show will run to March.

Dennis will have to wait a little longer for the work. His response: I’m in no hurry. I’m so glad your work is being seen (and sold).

Thank you Dennis, for reaching out and for the support of my work.


Dennis Chugh is a cardiologist who appreciates the arts and is also a maker of beautiful objects. He has blown glass for several years.

Chestnut-headed Bee-eater

You can see more of his colorful Aviary Cilinders at → dennischugh.com


The blog posts titled No Woman is an Island acknowledge the people and/or organizations who support me and the work I do.


“in pursuit of your humans”

I think about Wade as I pull this drawing out of storage…

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In February, 2014 – I received a few emails and a phone call from a gentleman whom I believe said he was from Louisiana. Wade had seen the New York Times article announcing the State of the Art exhibition at Crystal Bridges. He read about my studio visit and work. He was planning a one day trip to Phoenix, and wanted to see pieces…gallery…ect. 

I was teaching the day he was scheduled to visit and could not meet with him. He managed to locate two spaces where my work was hanging. I spoke to both owners of those facilities and before the day was out I had the opportunity to talk with him on the phone. I remember Wade because his reaction was sincere and his words were kind and generous. He was excited about my work and the attention it was receiving. I especially liked that he referred to my anatomy studies as ‘your humans’.

Wade asked me to stay in touch. I received lots of emails from across the country, because of that article. This last July (2015) I received an email from Wade. He was in Phoenix again and dropped me a note to tell me he was thinking about my art and hoped that I was doing well.

…about my humans
They have made their way to Los Angeles for a month showing at LA ARTCORE Brewery Annex.

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I have about 8 full size studies now – and counting. I hope to find an exhibition space that will show all of them together as one installation. I may complete 2 more to set up what I might refer to as generational mapping: four generations that includes these two drawings, my parents, a niece and nephew and 2 smaller ones, representing the generation after that.

Connections to the Natural World opens today – my humans are showing
along with the work of six other AZ artists.

LA ARTCORE Brewery Annex, Lincoln Heights 650 A South Avenue 21, Los Angeles, CA 90031
Reception and Artist Talks, Sunday, Jan 10, 2016, 1-3 p.m.
Exhibition Dates: Jan 2nd-Jan 30th. Hours Wed-Sun 12-5 pm

See you in LA!

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More:
Saatchi Global Gallery Guide
LAist

And as for State of the Art, it will be traveling : artdaily.org

no woman is an island

6and7Martinez_Hers and His

I meet Vlada and Matthew in June, while making center pieces for the wedding party tables. We all sit cutting and organizing flowers. My sister is getting married and they have come from New York City to El Paso, Texas, to attend the wedding.

I learn Vlada is from Sofia, Bulgaria. Her husband Matthew is from the United States. They are both musicians. And before the wedding is over the next day, they sit at the piano together and play for everyone. Their performance is physical and captivating.

Vlada contacts me mid-November while I am at Crystal Bridges.  They are interested in buying an artwork. I am surprised and pleased. We have a number of interactions to narrow down what will work for them.

Today I learn they want to buy two paintings, a set Hers and His.  The compositions are small female and male pelvis studies representing primordial energy. They both are from the series Nothing In Stasis. Here are a couple of posts about the artwork: Primordial Energy and Hers, Nothing in Stasis  and His

Vlada  lives and teaches in New York. Matthew is completing his teaching license. They  perform throughout the United States and Europe (far and wide). In our correspondence I learn Vlada is also a body worker.

Thank you Vlada and Matthew! Enjoy the paintings. I do believe the purchasing of these two works is creatively symbolic.

 

www.Masterwork Conversations.com is Vlada and Matthew’s website. They  have recently recorded an album called Imagination of the Folk.


The blog posts titled No Woman is an Island acknowledge the people and/or organizations who support me and the work I do.

state of the art – discovering american art now

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I am excited to let you know my work will be a part of the State of the Art exhibition at the Crystal Bridges Museum of America.

This is certain to be a one-of-a-kind exhibition experience – for artists and visitors both – as curators travelled 10,000 miles across the United Sates to visit with nearly 1000 artists. My studio was in that mix of visits as were a handful of AZ artists. I recall the initial phone call and email I received – I really couldn’t believe it ( for the record – I do believe it now ).

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Photo by Ruth Fremson/The New York Times

About the exhibit:
State of the Art features 102 artists from across the country selected for inclusion as a result of Crystal Bridges president Don Bacigalupi and assistant curator Chad Alligood’s travels and visits (mostly in person, some via Skype) with artists from every region of the U.S.

About the art works:
· Works in the exhibition include photography, video, ceramics, action/interaction, glass, fiber, installation, paper, painting, and sculpture.

· There are more than 200 total works in the exhibition

· The exhibition will reach beyond the boundaries of the Museum’s temporary exhibition spaces, extending into the permanent collection galleries and activating public and community areas indoors and out. Gallery spaces will total 19,000 square feet.

There is no charge to view the exhibition.

WHO: Crystal Bridges, Museum of American Art
WHAT: STATE OF THE ART – DISCOVERING AMERICAN ART NOW
WHERE: Bentonville, AK
WHEN: September 13, 2014 – January 19, 2015

 For more details click ↓image005

Visit the press page here on my blog and see the YouTube studio visit and/or read about the show and my work.

There is more to share but this is a good start.
Did I say I am excited? Yes I did. I am.

I could have titled this post No Woman is an Island.

6 zygotes

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The word zygote comes from the Greek and means joined or yoked.  On a quick tangent – this makes me think of the Sanskrit word yoga which means to yoke, to join or to unite. Here I think physical process, development and growth. And I think mother – my mother.

You recall I am doing an anatomy study of my mother and I want to reference in the composition the 6 children she raised. Initially I think to include 6 embryos. But as I look at resource material and compositional space I choose to set up 6 eggs becoming fertilized by sperm. I also think design: movement, color and line.

The bottom part / the ground of the drawing ( a 12″ x 44″ area ) is where I refer to the developmental phase after fertilization and the resulting one-celled organism called a zygote. The zygote stage lasts about 4 days – ironically equivalent to the amount of time this area takes to draw out and paint – 4 full days of steady, intricate progress.

Here are the stages of the 6 zygotes.

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Hot summers in Phoenix – I draw all day. This mixed media composition is bright and intense – more so than most of my other work on paper.

I need to start thinking about the title of the work and I wonder if it’s still part of the series called Nothing in Stasis. It is, I decide.

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My current and in process anatomy work is a life-size study of my mother’s body. Though still in the Nothing In Stasis series, I also see it as a tangent. As you recall my last painting was of my niece. I consider this work and the last as studies of anatomy, studies of the female form, and maybe studies of inheritance.

While there is bone and muscle structure, they are not primary in this composition as much as they’ve been in earlier art works. I’m thinking more in terms of organs and tissues. I sketch and outline for a long time before I decide how to approach things.

IMG_6177I like the shape of particular organs especially the ones of the immune system, which I am so curious about. I spend time researching the thyroid and the thymus. The butterfly shaped thyroid is found in the lower part of the neck.and affects every cell in the body. The thymus sits below the breast bone and is larger in a child than it is an adult. I find it contradicting  that it begins to shrink at puberty. I look at various tissue including adipose tissue. It’s lovely under a microscope.

Each organ takes a few days to complete because the work is compact – I want it dense and colorful.

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My mother had her gallbladder removed. I include it early on because again I like the shape. It reminds me of how a leaf looks growing off the stem of a plant. Eventually I remove it and place it into the background of the composition. The gallbladder is the first form that fills the lower space behind the physical body – it will appear as if growing out of the earth. I leave a trace of it where it once sat just under the liver. While the physical shape is gone, the energy of the organ remains.

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It’s interesting doing this particular work. The fact that this is my mother and the body of a woman who is 20 some years older than I am makes it familiar and yet unfamiliar at the same time –  difficult and fascinating.

I consider this work a meditation for sure.