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Joan Fitzsimmons

The Healing Arts is a photographic project that examines the aging body and its relationship to the other visual arts. The ordinary act of living is endlessly complex and uncertain. It is through the ordinary that, for me, the world resonates. Over the last few years, my ordinary has been intimately involved in the aging process and its incumbent maintenance. It does not always come suddenly. Sometimes I think we die in bits & pieces, a few teeth gone missing, strands of hair down the drain, a knee lies buried in that boneyard, the definitions of features fade into a ghostly palimpsest of the past. A series of knee surgeries left me bruised and swollen. Recovery was lengthy and activity limited. One day I noted that the markings on my leg resembled painting, a medium that I had studied early in my art education. Lines referenced drawing. The twisted, stapled flesh was sculptural. I have long been interested in the relationship among art, its media, and life. I began photographing initially with that in mind, but the inevitable ruminations on aging began. My images were/are painterly Memento Mori. I am my own still(ed) life. I am interested in creating large-scale inkjet prints, even photographic installations (See image a.) that claim the scale of other art media, such as painting, but also confront the viewer. It is not confrontation for the sake of shock, but to ask one to examine the inevitabilities of life and perhaps, even find some beauty in it, some acceptance. Art is the barometer by which I measure life. Colorations after recent surgery, the wayward movement of line, the shifting stain of marks, paint the body and define understanding.

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