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Voices Art Gallery: Current Show

an image broken down in pieces showing summer, fall, winter and spring
Christian Rasmussen: "Inevitability"
Only Green Sparty Hats
Audrey Wojtkowiak: "Only Green (Sparty) Hats!"

Changes of the Seasons by Christian Rasmussen

Acrylic Apes Anxiety by Audrey Wojtkowiak

On display: February through April, 2017


Artist's Statement: Christian Rasmussen

If you were to ask me what my favorite artistic medium is -- whether it's the photo collage, pastel, watercolor or mural hanging here, I'd have to say "the seasons." Or more accurately, whatever helps to convey the amazing messages that are found in the seasons. Better than anything else, the seasons represent the inevitability of change and the beauty of change, that runs through all of our lives, when we pay attention.

For example, the photo collages were inspired by how amazingly different a thing can look -- a tree, a moment, a day, an experience, a case of cancer -- depending on when, and from what angle you look at it. The "big picture" -- in those collages and our lives -- are made up of a whole cluster of individual moments in time. It is up to the artist to take each moment and make something meaningful and beautiful out it. And like the old Earth, Wind and Fire song says " . . . and when there ain't no beauty, you gotta make some beauty . . . . "

In addition to the supportive and loving people that stepped forward in my life, the creative process is what helped me get through my cancer experience.

We all have the creative potential to make our life a masterpiece. By seeing life and each day as a creative challenge and by making the creative adaptations in ourselves that can define our lives as a thing of beauty. We can study the lives of the people who inspire us in how they did it. I have always been inspired by the Greek philosopher Heraclites, who put it this way

You want to be more creative? Here's how to be more creative:
Pay attention to what is going on around you and inside of you
and respond to what you see.


Artist's Statement: Audrey Wojtkowiak

It's important to understand that this depression is not a sign
of mental illness. It is the appropriate response to a great loss.

~Excerpts from Love Never Dies

In this inaugural work, I explored how to release cancer-related anxiety and grief in a safe and fun way. As an artist, I am interested in creating a simplistic and child-like viewing atmosphere in which the viewer feels comfortable experiencing and perhaps letting go of their own grief over any loss, not just cancer. I created and organized the pieces along the 5 stages of grief as originally taught by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross because I believed it would provide an opportunity for other grieving persons an easier roadmap through their own process.

With the support of the art therapy program at the Comprehensive Cancer Center, I learned for myself how to draw and paint. Over time, I gained self-confidence and I was able to draw during treatment and no longer needed anti-anxiety medications. During this time, I realized making art helped me to better understand the way I grieve. Through that experience, I found the best way I could express and understand my feelings was to make art in a simplistic and child-like style. I continued drawing and painting until I could make myself and my friends smile with the results. Overall, my art helped me get out all the hurt and baggage; it has helped show me that I am not alone and am able to do something I never thought I could. Drawing my supports as angels was one of the ways I could thank them for being with me on my cancer journey.

The Voices Art Gallery is located on level B1 of the Cancer Center Building.
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The Voices Art Gallery is offered by the Cancer Center Art Therapy Program and is made possible by gifts to the Helen and Sonya Fund and the Cancer Center Art Therapy Program. Program supplies are generously supported by the Robert by the Robert Bruce Dunlap Memorial Fund.

Learn more about how you can make a gift to the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center.