Mending Marks

Joi McLaughlin

Art has the ability to convey a message that speaks to emotion and beyond what may seem logical to the viewer or the creator. In the fall of 2013, after learning my grandfather had to have a limb amputated due to infection, I began visiting him in a nursing home and used the experience to explore this facet of artistic creation. I specifically explored the intersection between art and physical healing, particularly how creation could give insight into the healing process, denote emotions embodied in moments captured and influence the relationship between the artist and the subject.

The produced work not only allowed me to document my observations but also use various visual forms and varying perspectives to vicariously express the physical changes in my grandfather’s body and sentiments during my time with him. The variation in line, compositional arrangements of the drawings and my personal writings provides insight into the emotions my grandfather felt in those moments, why certain interactions took place, and the relationship I have with my grandfather, which evolved during the creation process.

With every mark of ink, I mended memories and these moments of being with my grandfather, which permitted to me see how his life has progressed and on a larger whole navigate how to response to the reality of change. Using art to observe my grandfather in this way has given me a greater appreciation for who he is and I hope would encourage others to evaluate the meaningful relationships in their own lives.

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