The physical body is rich source material for many artists working today in a wide variety of mediums. Art Times Two, the gallery at the Princeton Brain and Spine Care Institute at 731 Alexander Road, presents an array of styles, concerns, and media made in response to the brain and spine in “Interior Design: the Brain and Spine in Art,” an exhibition by four artists who have connections to the Princeton area. Their differing approaches represent the broad range of possibilities inherent in a single idea. An opening reception takes place on Tuesday, October 11, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Rachel Collins found her inspiration in the articulated animal skeletons her mother assembled in their home — “a baby bear under the piano, an alligator by the guest bed.” Single, extra bones, particularly the vertebrae of bison, found their way into Collins’ paintings. Remarkable in the resulting watercolors is the sense of renewed life achieved by their luminous color and an intimate point of view.
Kirsten Fishchler’s art focuses on the forms found in common throughout nature from microscopic to macroscopic structures. Her work is an “investigation into neuronal networks, exploring the similarities between the brain, tree root structures, mycelia, and communication systems like the web,” and was inspired in part by the neurological drawings of Spanish Nobel Laureate Doctor of Medicine Santiago Ramon y Cajal.
Joy Kreves expresses in her work the invisible activities of the brain, such as states of mind. In her series of small collages, “Earth/Brain Events,” she explores solastalgia, an idea put forth by Glenn Albrecht, which posits that emotional distress can be caused by traumatic environmental changes. In another work, “I Am So Distracted Today,” Kreves creates layers of jumbled lines that offer a picture of an over-stimulated personal moment. “Desert Dream Song,” a drawing of curiously quiet quality for a representation of sound, evokes notions of unconscious knowing.
Carolyn Lee Vehslage employs silkscreened and stenciled images of the brain for a layered effect in her quilted fiber work. As do most artists, she has chosen personal territory to explore in her art; in her case, questions of illness that she has endured lifelong come into play with this imagery.
Art Times Two is a unique venue in that it offers small shows that run for six months at a time for the benefit of the patients of the institute. The public is invited to gallery receptions, or by appointment thereafter. The gallery curator is Madelaine Shellaby.
Mark Mclaughlin, a doctor at the institute, says: “The purpose of opening up our office to art exhibits by ArtTimesTwo is three-fold. First and most importantly, it provides a comforting, healing atmosphere for our patients who are frightened or apprehensive. Second, it gives local artists the opportunity to display, promote, and sell their work. And lastly, through commissions received on every sale, it benefits the Spinal Research Foundation, which ultimately benefits our patients and the improvement of spine health care.”
Art Exhibit, Princeton Brain and Spine Institute, 731 Alexander Road, West Windsor. Tuesday, October 11, 5:30 o 7:30 p.m. Opening reception for “Interior Design: The Brain and Spine in Art” featuring works by Rachel Collins, Kirsten Fischler, Joy Kreves, and Carolyn Lee Vehslage. On view through March 31. 609-203-4622 or www.princetonbrainandspine.com.