Thursday, 3 November 2011

Art Therapy Connection in Contemporary Art

Expression, this very word synonymies' therapy. Disabled artists have used, whether knowingly or not, the practice of art therapy to create fine art and be involved in the contemporary art world. 
 Hannah Wilke approached different mediums in fine art and I found her most striking work to be her photography, specifically, her Intra Venus series that documented her battle with cancer. It was fearless of her to not only allow herself to be vulnerable but to tackle a disease that still can be a vulnerable subject. 

Hannah Wilke, part of Intra Venus series
Frida Kahlo used her physical pain and turmoil to create self-portraits that shed light on extremely intimate and personal moments in her life. 
Kahlo in her studio.

In both cases, these artists merged the practice of art with that of art therapy. Not only presenting issues but using their artwork as an outlet for their pain. 
This leads me to reflect on Sean's production of artwork. He may not be a trained artist and he may have DS but does his work have any less value because of these issues? Is it fair to say that someone's disability reduces the quality in their art? If so, it would seem fair to say that attributes of skin colour, religion, education and sex, affect the quality of our work too. And it does. Everything we are affects our work, this is what makes each piece and each artist special in their own right. Sean's work should be no more special or less significant than mine, nor any other artist and should have the equal right to exhibition. This concept of equality in art pushes my desire to exhibit both our collection of works. My documentation of him creating should further express this point. 

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