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Experiences With Cancer, Captured in Works of Art – The New York Times

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As Covid-19 heightens the anxieties of cancer patients, online support groups step up efforts to help by means of social networking. One such group, Twist Out Cancer, sponsors an innovative program called Brushes With Cancer that matches patients with artists who create a unique piece of artwork to capture the experience of their disease.

When I first heard about Brushes With Cancer, I was predisposed in its favor because I have witnessed firsthand the transformative capacity of the visual arts. Generally, I forewarn prospective patient-readers about the depressing account of ovarian cancer in my book “Memoir of a Debulked Woman”; however, one stranger’s response elated me. Juliet R. Harrison sent me an art object that made the darkness visible. She had gutted the book — cut into its cover, torn out most of its pages — and then sutured it back together with splints, paste, fragmented words and wire. Broken, hollowed and rebound, it concretized the evisceration I had tried to protest.

Credit…Abigail Godwin, IU Libraries

Brushes With Cancer promotes the exchange of this sort of uncanny gift. On the website of Twist Out Cancer, painters, designers, sculptors and photographers as well as survivors, patients and caregivers can sign up to engage — with the aid of a mentor — in a four-to-six-month partnership.

Jenna Benn Shersher, the chief executive of Twist Out Cancer, told me that when she founded it in 2012, an art history student named Anna Swarthout (now Moschner) posted a video saying that she felt robbed of her creativity while dealing with the same disease Ms. Shersher had overcome: gray-zone lymphoma. Could others provide her artwork — without using the color gray, she asked? The “huge response” convinced Ms. Shersher that many would profit from such interactions: “Not only do people get to tell their story; they then see it through someone else’s eyes, which can be therapeutic.”

Begun in Chicago, Brushes With Cancer has chapters in Philadelphia; Detroit; Austin, Texas; Toronto; Montreal; and Tel Aviv. Artworks are displayed at its galas and auctioned off, and the money raised is plowed back into the program. “What if the subjects who served as inspiration want to keep the work?” I asked Ms. Shersher. She explained that they have first right: “Relatives often chip in to contribute, although some people believe that the rendering of their cancer encounter should circulate more widely.”

Although the pairings were originally done in person, the program has pivoted in the pandemic, Ms. Shersher explained in an email. “We decided in late March to move all of our programming and large scale art exhibitions and celebratory events into the virtual space,” she wrote. “This means that all artist and inspiration interactions are done virtually for the safety of our participants.”

The works in Brushes With Cancer address and redress the fright and anguish of a disease that can be indiscernible in its progression and isolating as well as deadly.

Like the art made from my deconstructed and reconstructed book, one work titled “Walking In, Walking Out” reconfigures a cancer memoir, Bob Kaufman’s “Replenished.” Bryan and Liz Kuntz, with Ricky Kimball, created a surrogate of Mr. Kaufman, trudging across the pages of his account of surviving late-stage non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and a bone-marrow transplant. The verso page with its gouges and gorges must have been difficult to slog through. It looks as if the solitary figure had to drag his feet across the treacherous terrain, ripping up his own language in an effort to reach the clear plain of the recto side.

Equipped with a hat and a backpack, Mr. Kaufman’s avatar straddles the adjacent but incongruent geographies of during and after treatment. The artists remind us how many patients set themselves simple goals: of walking out of the hospital on their own two feet and of disclosing their ordeal like an open book.

Focused also on gritty determination, Bowen Kline’s painting “Bombs Away” depicts Grace Fauls Lombardo holding a lit bomb inscribed with the message “To Cancer. TlcN1. Love, Grace.” In an accompanying legend, Mr. Kline states that doctors would look at Ms. Lombardo’s diagnosis — T1 is the breast tumor, c the size, N1 stands for one involved lymph node — before looking at her. After diagnosis, Ms. Lombardo began a blog that she called “grancer,” a neologism that rhymes with cancer but contains all the letters of her hopeful first name.

Credit…Bowen Kline

What makes Mr. Kline’s figure more than a poster girl for a “we-can-beat-cancer” cliché? Ms. Lombardo’s wary expression after she has lit the fuse to blow cancer to smithereens. “Here goes nothing,” she seems to be saying, “but what the hell?” Despite her bravado and the artist’s comic approach, the proximity of the bomb to her head feels ominous.

A number of the more poignant paintings sponsored by Brushes With Cancer confront loss more overtly. With a nod to Picasso, “Our Tangled Stories” depicts two closely aligned heads and torsos. To accompany it, Virginia Champoux-Sokoloff describes her mother’s 20-year-old struggle with breast cancer and then her different approach to the disease. Might the two figures represent the daughter, wide-eyed, and her dead mother, shut-eyed? Or they could be Ms. Champoux-Sokoloff before and after her mother’s death.

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But the artist Ishita Banerjee states that in the aftermath of a double mastectomy Ms. Champoux-Sokoloff suffered the loss of her husband to lung failure. From this perspective, the two interfused figures signify the patient and her beloved spouse. Circling lines radiate out from the center of both chests — two breasts, two lungs, a breast and a lung — to portray the intimacy of the living and the dead. A doubled yet single being in mourning, one cannot move without the other.

Credit…Ishita Banerjee

Ofer Katz undertook not a Cubist but an impressionist approach to grieving in his otherworldly painting “Things I wanted to tell you — Mark and Aliza Ainis at The Dead Sea.” The artist explains that Aliza’s father passed away after a long struggle with cancer on the day of her high school graduation and that she missed being able to tell him about her ongoing life. Mr. Katz “wanted to create a scene that manifests the absence of conversation, but with a presence of deep paternal love.” His consolation for her regret over unspoken words takes the form of a primal scene of numinous beauty.

Awash in the blues that connect the sky with the landscape and the water, the father at the piano cradles his infant daughter in his lap while playing her a tune by the light of the silvery moon. Preserved on canvas, father and child reside together in what Freud called the oceanic: the sense of unbounded limitlessness, of being merged with each other and the external world. No one can drown in the Dead Sea, most people believe, because of its high salt content, though it is impossible not to anticipate the pianist and his swaddled baby sinking into the unfathomable depths of memory.

Credit…Ofer Katz

Like Frida Kahlo, who painted flowers so they would not die, the participants in Brushes With Cancer illuminate the meaning of Thomas Merton’s statement that “Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.”

Susan Gubar, who has been dealing with ovarian cancer since 2008, is distinguished emerita professor of English at Indiana University. Her latest book is “Late-Life Love.”

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Window art contest in Prince Albert – paNOW

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“When the lockdown first happened, we were seeing lots of communities decorating their windows and doing cool things like that to make it a little less dreary and sad that we were all locked up inside,” Wirtz said.

Winners of the contest will be announced on Sept. 30 in two different categories. There will be a business category with the winner receiving $50 gift cards to Sandra’s Framing Gallery as well to a local restaurant. The residential category winner will receive $50 gift cards to a local restaurant and to On the Avenue Artisans Gallery. Submissions will be judged by the amount of likes a post receives.

“We saw some communities that made it up into little contests and got lots of people to decorate their windows,” Wirtz said. “Then we thought Culture Days would be a great opportunity to roll that out since it’s raising awareness for arts and culture.”

According to Wirtz, the idea is a great way for everyone to show off their artistic talents.

“Even if they don’t want to come to in-person events yet, you can still decorate your window at home,” Wirtz said.

Those who do not feel comfortable going to an art gallery just yet, can still enjoy the beauty of art, by walking around their neighborhood and looking at the projects being done by those in their community.

“I would love to see more businesses get involved, I think that would be really cool,” Wirtz said. “I would love to drive around and see one that is decorated.”

Artists who are stuck on inspiration can head to the Culture Days Facebook page for tips, tricks, and DIY window paint and chalk recipes.

Meanwhile the City of Prince Albert is also looking for a local artist to paint a mural on the exterior wall of the Prairie Cannabis building on Second Avenue W.

In another Culture Days public art initiative, the boulder at the downtown transfer station will also be painted.

With files from Alison Sandstrom

Dawson.thompson@jpbg.ca

On Twitter: dawsonthompson8

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TrepanierBaer offers glimpse of the 1980s work of 'Alberta art royalty' Carroll Taylor Lindoe – SaltWire Network

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Inspiration works in mysterious ways.

Roughly two years ago, an art collector contacted Yves Trepanier inquiring about a series of large-scale charcoal drawings by Carroll Taylor Lindoe, an artist his gallery represents. It turns out, the piece of art he was after wasn’t available. But it prompted Trepanier to look at his inventory of Taylor Lindoe’s work at TrepanierBaer. Eventually, a small exhibition was launched in April 2019 to introduce the artist to a new generation of art enthusiasts and collectors.

“People went crazy,” says Trepanier. “It was like ‘Wow, this is great: Carroll is back.’”

Still, few thought that the modest exhibition would prompt Taylor Lindoe to start creating again, including the artist herself. She had been retired from both teaching and her artistic practice since the early 2000s, when she moved with her husband to Denman Island off the coast of Vancouver Island.

On the phone with Postmedia earlier this week, the 72-year-old artist is taking a rare break from the fall harvesting of fruit and vegetables on her island home, where she has lived a somewhat reclusive life since 2003. She built a studio on the property not long after moving there, but over the years it had mostly been used for storage.

“This sort of life that we have here is something that I’ve always wanted,” Taylor Lindoe says. “It wasn’t that I was running away from my art practice so much as going to something that was close to my heart. But while I left my practice behind, it didn’t take much for the interest to open up that door into my mind again and get my mind thinking about art again and about the pleasure of making it.”

Taylor Lindoe, whose practice includes drawing, sculpture and painting, will not reveal specific details about what she has been creating this past year. Nor will Calgarians get a chance to see new pieces as part of Carroll Taylor Lindoe: Inch, Foot, Yard, Mile, her first solo show in two decades that runs until Oct. 10 at the TrepanierBaer. The works on display are mostly from the 1980s, a wildly productive period for the artist that found her immersed in a number of disciplines. That allowed her an eclectic approach, demonstrating a great sense of “geometry, architecture and abstraction with allusions to figure and landscape,” Trepanier says.

It’s a reminder of the place of prominence the artist held in Calgary’s art scene, which made her sudden disappearance from it nearly two decades ago all the more jarring, he says. Her family roots go back to early pioneers of Alberta and the pioneering western Canadian culture has always been “very much a part of my being,” she says. Her parents were also pioneers of sorts. Her father Luke Lindoe was a prominent ceramic artist, painter, sculptor and businessman. Her mother Vivian Lindoe was also a painter, printmaker and ceramist. The couple became part of a small, tight-knit group of post-war artists practising in Calgary.

“The artist’s community in the ’40s and ’50s was very much a pioneering community,” Taylor Lindoe says. “It was a small group of people. They were all very tied together, they all knew each other. There were no artist-run galleries until the 1970s. People showed where they could. Really it was a social group.”

Taylor Lindoe eventually studied at the Alberta College of Art and Design and taught there until she moved to B.C., inspiring generations of Calgary artists. She was married to Ron Moppett, a prominent Calgary painter. Their son, Damian, is also an artist currently living in Vancouver. In short, she is a part of “Alberta art royalty,” Trepanier says.

The exhibit at TrepanierBaer, while focused on a relatively brief period in Taylor Lindoe’s 40-year-career, showcases her versatility in sculpture, painting and drawings. They include everything from the 16-work Image Poem, a collection of ink on mylar and watercolour pieces inspired by an eye-opening trip to Macedonia in the 1980s, to Figure in Landscape with Black Stairs, a painted wood sculpture inspired by her walks through Calgary, to Untitled #4, a 1987 abstract charcoal drawing.

“She was moving around from one medium to another and was ahead of her time,” says Trepanier. “If you think back to how artists were 20, 30 years ago, if you were a painter you were a painter. You might fool around with something else, make some drawings or prints, but she really moved and there’s a cross-disciplinary interest, a flexibility in her work approach. It’s just the way she is. I think she gets bored if she just does one thing and plateaus there. She wants to get off and go onto the next thing.”

As for her next thing, Taylor Lindoe does not reveal too many details. This is not because she is being secretive, but because she has a hard time planning or predicting what will happen.

“It’s coming from the subconscious,” she says. “That part of a person is not very directable … There will always be a sense of place and there will always be a physicality and there will be a psychic reality to it. So whatever it is, however it gathers in on the work I’m doing, whether it’s drawing or paintings or sculptures, those elements will always be there.”

Carroll Taylor Lindoe: Inch, Foot, Yard, Mile runs until Oct. 11 at TrepanierBaer. Visit trepanierbaer.com

Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2020

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TrepanierBaer offers glimpse of the 1980s work of 'Alberta art royalty' Carroll Taylor Lindoe – Calgary Herald

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Article content continued

Carroll Taylor Lindoe's Image Poems on exhibit at TrepanierBear Gallery.
Carroll Taylor Lindoe’s Image Poems on exhibit at TrepanierBear Gallery. jpg

On the phone with Postmedia earlier this week, the 72-year-old artist is taking a rare break from the fall harvesting of fruit and vegetables on her island home, where she has lived a somewhat reclusive life since 2003. She built a studio on the property not long after moving there, but over the years it had mostly been used for storage.

“This sort of life that we have here is something that I’ve always wanted,” Taylor Lindoe says. “It wasn’t that I was running away from my art practice so much as going to something that was close to my heart. But while I left my practice behind, it didn’t take much for the interest to open up that door into my mind again and get my mind thinking about art again and about the pleasure of making it.”

Taylor Lindoe, whose practice includes drawing, sculpture and painting, will not reveal specific details about what she has been creating this past year. Nor will Calgarians get a chance to see new pieces as part of Carroll Taylor Lindoe: Inch, Foot, Yard, Mile, her first solo show in two decades that runs until Oct. 10 at the TrepanierBaer. The works on display are mostly from the 1980s, a wildly productive period for the artist that found her immersed in a number of disciplines. That allowed her an eclectic approach, demonstrating a great sense of “geometry, architecture and abstraction with allusions to figure and landscape,” Trepanier says.

Carroll Taylor Lindoe's Figure in Landscape, Black Stairs show on display at TrepanierBaer Gallery.
Carroll Taylor Lindoe’s Figure in Landscape, Black Stairs show on display at TrepanierBaer Gallery. jpg

It’s a reminder of the place of prominence the artist held in Calgary’s art scene, which made her sudden disappearance from it nearly two decades ago all the more jarring, he says. Her family roots go back to early pioneers of Alberta and the pioneering western Canadian culture has always been “very much a part of my being,” she says. Her parents were also pioneers of sorts. Her father Luke Lindoe was a prominent ceramic artist, painter, sculptor and businessman. Her mother Vivian Lindoe was also a painter, printmaker and ceramist. The couple became part of a small, tight-knit group of post-war artists practising in Calgary.

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