Exhibit to showcase the healing power of art based on human scars

Through his art, Ted Meyer highlights the emotional impact of pain and healing on everyday people—patients, families, and medical personnel—by creating works of art from their scars.

Through his art, Ted Meyer highlights the emotional impact of pain and healing on everyday people—patients, their families, and health care professionals—by creating works of art from scars.

The Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine will present the newest exhibit in its art show series on October 1. Scarred for Life: Remnants of Trauma into Objects of Beauty, featuring the work of Los Angeles–based artist Ted Meyer, is an exhibition of photographs, narratives, and scarred-tissue monoprints that together tell the stories of events – often traumatic ones – that have transformed lives.

The opening reception will run from 5:15 to 7:15 p.m., with a presentation by the artist at 6:15.

Meyer offers the exhibition as a complement to his Collaborating Across Borders 2015 (CAB V) presentation on patients’ perspectives on healing. CAB V, the premier North American conference on interprofessional education and collaborative practice in health and social care, will be held September 29–October 2 in Roanoke. The Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and Research Institute is hosting the event along with the Jefferson College of Health Sciences, Carilion Clinic, and Virginia Tech.

“We’re honored that Ted Meyer has invested the time and effort to bring this exhibit to Roanoke,” said David Trinkle, associate dean for community and culture at the medical school. “The theme of his exhibit fits perfectly with our emphasis on patient-centered learning and interprofessionalism in health care.”

One of Meyer’s goals is to bring art into nontraditional spaces, such as clinical facilities, to highlight the emotional impact of pain and healing on patients, their families, and health care providers. “I accentuate the details of each scar with a special technique for body color and colored pencil,” Meyer said. “My hope is to turn these lasting monuments, often thought of as unsightly, into things of beauty.”

Much of Meyer’s work has been influenced by his own experiences with Gaucher’s disease, a hereditary condition in which fatty substances accumulate in cells and organs. Meyer’s early artwork depicted contorted and pained skeletal images, before new treatments and joint replacements restored his health and mobility. He plans to continue taking his art – and the accompanying stories of personal strength and fortitude they tell – to schools and galleries around the country.

As part of the October 1 exhibition, Meyer has curated the work of several guest artists, including Ellen Cantor, who depicts her life with spinal disorders through artwork that uses commonplace objects to symbolize her vertebrae and discs; Jada Fabrizio, a photographer who uses elements that trigger personal memories and other connections while speaking to the human condition; and Daphne Hill, who channels her anxiety about illness by producing works of art that depict microscopic disease organisms.

The art show will also feature the work of Debbie Smith Mezzetta, who creates whimsical murals and other works of art; Dominic Quagliozzi, who uses painting to illustrate his experiences with cystic fibrosis; and Susan Trachman, whose art revolves around medical objects that have become part of her everyday experiences with multiple sclerosis.

The art show is the latest in a series sponsored by the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine’s Creativity in Health Education Program, which strives to expand the social, cultural, and humanistic awareness of the school’s students, faculty, and staff while involving community members in the life of the school.

The artwork will be on display through December 23. The building usually has restricted access, so the October 1 event will provide an ideal opportunity for the public to view the artwork. Following the opening, viewing of the art will be by appointment only. To learn more, schedule an appointment, or request special accommodation, email Lynne Pearo-Baker or call 540-526-2300.

Written by Catherine Doss

About the Artist

Los Angeles-based artist Ted Meyer has held teaching positions at Brooks College in Long Beach, California, and California State University at Northridge. He is the artist in residence at UCLA Geffen School of Medicine; a visiting scholar at the National Museum of Health and Medicine in Bethesda, Maryland; and a graduate of the Aspen Seminars.


Collaborating Across Borders

The fifth international Collaborating Across Borders (CAB V) conference will be held September 29 to October 2 in Roanoke. Collaborating Across Borders is the premier North American conference on interprofessional education and collaborative practice in health and social care.