A Somewhat Secret Place
This month, I’m participating in A Somewhat Secret Place. Curated by artist Catherine JH Miller, the show focuses on disability and its status in art and in society, issues that have become a lot more personal to me since I was diagnosed with a chronic illness in 2009.
My contribution to the show is a self-portrait that I created in 2010, a painting that allowed me to work through some of the difficulties of living with endometriosis. To make the portrait, I used an old photo of myself, one taken before I had any symptoms of disease. Originally, I envisioned painting a portrait that would combine aspects of a healthy me with elements of who I had become. I was looking to create a painting imbued with a kind of sympathetic magic—an image that could act as a touchstone for health for me—but the portrait had other plans.
As I worked, the painting resolutely remained a depiction of me pre-symptoms. At first, I was disappointed, but as I brought the piece to completion I realized that I was being silly. I was idealizing a time in my life when I wasn’t sick but also when I wasn’t necessarily any happier than I am now. Creating the painting helped me to see that while endometriosis has changed my life in a big way it hasn’t actually killed anything important about who I am.
On the days when the disease gets the better of me, I look at Sympathetic Magic and remember that I’m not really any worse off now than I was then: my life is just different.
For more information about A Somewhat Secret Place, visit its blog or come to the opening tonight!
939 NW Glisan
Portland, OR 97209
(entrance on 10th Avenue)
Opening: TONIGHT from 6:30 to 9 PM
Reception: Saturday 9 July beginning at 6:30 PM
Open: 7 through 30 July
Hours: Monday through Saturday from 11 AM to 5 PM