We all have a gap between our personal self and our general public self. For persons with invisible disabilities such as chronic illness, mental sickness, and neurological conditions, that hole can be big.
“Invisible Disabilities,” introduced by Unbound Visible Arts and curated by Samantha M. Joyce at Arthaus Artwork Gallery, highlights 10 artists in this populace. An exhibition that explicitly depicts the crucible of concealed problems — the suffering they bring about, and the wisdom they can provide — is something everybody can relate to.
Susan K. Teal suffers from nervousness attacks and trauma, she claims in her artist’s statement. Her self-portraits, produced in 2020, right after the dying of her aunt and in the midst of pandemic isolation, depict Teal expressing a variety of extreme emotions. In “Labile,” just one expression unfolds to the up coming, as she screams, grits her enamel, and softens into sorrow. The psychological tone recollects Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” (and in fact, Munch wrote in his journal of suffering from tuberculosis and psychological sickness). Teal’s frank realism in self-portraiture is startlingly personal. The succession of faces offers a development from rage to disappointment, and a clarity of self-witnessing, that can make area all around the ache.
But most likely I’m viewing hope simply to ward off my own fragility. “Invisible health issues has no arc. No narrative,” painter Linda Morgenstern, who suffers from myalgic encephalomyelitis/serious tiredness syndrome, writes in her assertion. In her modest, gorgeously mottled paintings of properties, interspersed with wall-mounted little cardboard shacks, paint is like the stuff of daily life from which form coalesces and then dissolves, and the dwelling a symbol for the human body: structured but worn absent by gentle, dim, and temperature.
Works that explore an artist’s incapacity with out disclosing it open up an even much larger scope for a viewer’s individual projection. Sam Fein draws a watery figure haunted by ghosts in “Overwhelmed.” Her “Drug Mandala” assemblage — patterned with vials, baggies, pills, and candy — harnesses a medicine regime’s electrical power for contemplation and spiritual progress by turning it into sacred geometry.
That’s the job of artwork. Offering form to the unseen and fugitive parts of humanity and of culture, it holds and consecrates them. In particular in this sort of anxiety-pushed times, artists like the ones in this clearly show, who accept their tenderness and wrestle, are accurate leaders.
At Arthaus Artwork Gallery, 43 N. Beacon St., Allston, by way of July 17. www.unboundvisualarts.org/invisible-disabilities-in-human being-show/