OVERTONES is pleased to present “Lucid”, a special exhibition that extends art beyond white gallery walls and into the community at large. The exhibition was organized by artist Brian Moss, in collaboration with members of the The Wellness Community, West Los Angeles and is a culmination of a project that focuses on providing a creative outlet and support to cancer patients and survivors.
“Lucid” is the last exhibition of the season—OVERTONES will close for the last part of the Summer, undergo an expansion during the month of August and reopen in September—we hope to see you here before our Summer working vacation, to help us usher in the next chapter!
1: suffused with light
2: having full use of one’s faculties
3: clear to the understanding
A project by Brian Moss
In collaboration with
Elisabeth Bersin, Marianne Doran, Yvette Hubbard,
Carol Nitze, Sheila Siemons & Phil Stern
Exhibition Dates: June 25th – July 23rd, 2005
SATURDAY, June 25th, 2005 7-11pm
Working with members of The Wellness Community, 11th District Artist-in-Residence Brian Moss has created a structure for pleasure, self-expression and mutual support through community building for people living with cancer. Supported by funding from the City of Los Angeles' Department of Cultural Affairs, this is the third artist residency Moss has completed with members of The Wellness Community, in this case West Los Angeles, a local branch of the national organization that provides support to cancer patients, survivors and their families. The goals of the residency were to teach the participants to use pinhole photography for creative purposes and as an aid in coping with the actual and psychological changes in self-image that accompany cancer treatment. To accomplish these goals the participants built pinhole cameras and used them to create self-portraits and images of significant people and things in their lives.
This collaboration between Brian Moss and Elisabeth Bersin, Marianne Doran, Yvette Hubbard, Carol Nitze, Sheila Siemons and Phil Stern is a role reversal for the photographers. Traditionally scrutinized as subjects by doctors and medical machinery, the subjects here become observers, creators and directors. The participants are empowered by their activity as creators and through taking charge of how they are represented in their own images. This project addresses issues of control, which are very important for cancer patients and survivors. The action of pinhole photography involves both taking control and letting go. Because pinhole cameras have no view-finder or exposure controls, the results are never predictable. This strange mode of photography becomes an integral part of the project. An understanding is established that just as in life, outcomes are not guaranteed and chance is often a determining factor.
The exhibit features three different types of portraits: self-portraits and portraits of family, friends and surroundings made by the participants; traditional B+W portraits by Moss showing some of the participants in medical situations; and large color transparency portraits of the participants directed by them and shot by Moss with a pinhole camera inside a tent. The different types of images in the exhibition transcend portraiture and self-portraiture by merging and juxtaposing these normally opposing roles. The participants’ role as directors of the collaborative portraits is very important. For these images, the subjects chose the location, the pose and what they wear. The setting is a meditative or contemplative place that has special significance for the subject in relation to their illness, treatment and healing process. An innovative display method for these images uses x-ray illuminators as lightboxes. Exhibiting them in this manner expands their meaning by referring to the diagnostic method used to discover cancer. These images challenge the negative associations of medical imaging and suggest another way of looking at, and thinking about the medical images upon which this community depends.
Moss' reasons for choosing to work with The Wellness Community are very personal. In 1988 his partner of three years died of Hodgkin's Disease (cancer of the lymph nodes) at the age of 25 after almost three years of treatment, and in December of 1999 a very close friend died of AIDS after living with the disease for over fourteen years. Their perseverance in the face of illness and the effects on their mental well-being from continuing to create their artwork inspire him to this day.
OVERTONES is a Los Angeles art venue that supports and promotes creative endeavors in all artistic disciplines, with emphasis on emerging and mid-career artists, international collaboration and social responsibility. OVERTONES is dedicated to searching outside the confines of established art institutions and presenting work that has the potential to engage a wide range of audiences.
*For further information and images please contact the Director of Exhibitions, Elizabeta Betinski, at email@example.com or (310) 915. 0346.