Artistic healing

By Jean-Paul Desjardins

Do you remember the last time your head was violently introduced to concrete? How about something psychologically traumatic, like the time you opened your parent’s bedroom door to discover daddy "hurting" mommy? Now remember how you chose to deal with either case. While some might rely on Dukes of Hazzard re-runs on hospital televisions, or a mickey of whiskey and weekly therapy to help them through physical or psychological injury, others involve the art of creation in their healing process.

This concept of healing through art is the theme of the Centre Gallery’s current exhibitions–a group display entitled A Leap of Faith: Healing Through Creation and a solo exhibition by Joy Macleod Capturing the Essence.
The Main Gallery hosts A Leap of Faith with a variety of pieces taking the form of mandellas, ceramics, installations, paintings, and video. Of particular interest is a piece "Efface" by artist Karrie Davis.

This mixed media piece depicts a nude female form with detailed reliefs of various elements of the body. It is somewhat reminiscent of the human body picture in the "H" section of the Canadian Encyclopedia. Only unlike the cold and clinical encyclopedia pictures, the warmly detailed portions of "Efface" show hands rubbing at the flesh. This gives it a very enigmatic quality that draws you in, making you question what you’re seeing.

The etc. Room features pieces by Macleod, who relies heavily on materials found in nature to convey her ideas. Using bark, sticks, rocks, and other "found" objects including bottle caps and rusty metal, Macleod constructs figurines meant to represent different feelings. While some people express their emotions through other vehicles like music or poetry, Macleod’s emotions take on a visual form.

"As I stitch and glue, mend and shape fragments into a whole, I find the essence of who I am is being healed and restored through this ancient ceremony known as art," clarifies Macleod.

The walls of the etc. Room are covered with her figurines, which gives one the impression of a prehistoric cave wall covered with etchings of various sacred objects.

This evokes a somewhat eerie feeling, as though you’re being watched–but at the same time, the atmosphere of the room has a very calming effect. This exhibit is well worth the trip.

The next time flesh. meets asphalt, or there’s a gaping wound where a heart once was, try picking up a piece of charcoal instead of a bottle. For vivid and compelling examples, visit the Centre Gallery until Feb. 12.

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