I am seeking some really great, positive artists whose art is informed by an "invisible" challenge. Are you an artist doing work conceptually inspired by epilepsy? Depression? Bipolar? Deafness? or? Do you know an artist who you might recommend?

The idea for this exhibition happened when my deafness -- the most challenging of my medical issues and something I pretended didn’t exist for most of my life -- began insinuating itself into my creative fiber art practice. I saw it in art works I kept secret in the studio. Why keep it a secret, I wondered? I spoke with a friend, Atlanta artist Leah Owenby- whose diabetes inspires her to create artworks that incorporate her test strips and needles, and another artist, whose intricate imagery clearly speaks of seizure-affected brain “wiring”. Exhibitions showing this work are rare and it became a personal imperative to create a space for this conversation so it wouldn’t be “secret” any longer. 

We know that artists incorporate and heal via the work they make. But do we know how many? In this exhibition I am hoping to encourage more understanding of what it means to live with challenge(s) not readily obvious on the exterior, how artists deal with this via their visual art making, and ways to engage the community in exploring this topic.

Every day the artists in this exhibition privately contend with needles, drugs, treatments and/or hospitalizations, while dealing with erroneous assumptions and misperceptions because we look absolutely normal but must sometimes do things outside what society considers normal because of our conditions. Art puts these challenges into perspective. Through manipulating yarn, thread, canvas, fabric, graphite, paper, paint, mixed media, metal and other materials we make art and make public our feelings.

It is these shared experiences that break down barriers between humans and lightens the load, but only if we know they are shared. Why is it often a secret? This exhibit will help us to find out.

Dates: October 30-November 27, 2015

Location: Abernathy Arts Center Gallery, Sandy Springs (Atlanta) Georgia

Participating Artists:


Brooks Harris Stevens- U.S., Associate professor of Fibers, Eastern Michigan State U

J.Penney Burton- Canada, artist, art educator, art writer

Linda Wallace- Canada, Artist: hand woven tapestry, writer

Leisa Rich- U.S., (Canadian) artist, art educator, art writer,CURATOR of this exhibition

Michelle Urbanek- U.S., school teacher, artist

Katherine Soucie- Canada, fashion designer, artist, educator, writer

Leah Owenby- U.S., gallery assistant, artist

Kathy Abernathy Meliopoulos- U.S., artist

Lynne Lemofsky- South Africa, artist

Julie Sims, U.S., Visual artist and photographer

Jeanne Hewell-Chambers, U.S. Visual Artist 


PLEASE CONTACT ME AT monaleisa@bellsouth.net

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Replies to This Discussion

Kelsey Simmen makes her work from medical devices. She has diabetes and uses the syringes, for example. kelseysimmen [at] gmail.com email so you can contact her.

Thanks! I have emailed her.


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