Exhibitions that link the arts and the sciences are proliferating worldwide. Whether they take form as mounted exhibitions, social media projects, or performance events, the desire to use one field to illuminate the other provides a window into the creativity of both the artist and the scientist. Artistic works inspired by science are themselves the subjects of scientific inquiry—do they anticipate discoveries? Do the artworks inspire the creation of knowledge? Can they become explanatory devices that clarify scientific concepts? Nowhere is this study more significant than in inquiries about art and contemporary medicine and about art and its healing capacities.
Art therapy as a discipline is maturing and evolving to include writing, performance, and other humanistic expressions. Scholarly journals with articles analyzing its effects and the manners in which it affects patients and others abound. But the works on these walls take the nexus of arts and healing in another direction and ask us to consider the spectacle of the scar. Scars literally punctuate our lives. Here, individuals willing to bring attention to their scars under Ted Meyer’s brush join with Ted to tell a story of what their life was like before the scar, and after. They document processes of injury and healing; they represent traumas both physical and psychological; and they can focus our life stories.
Focusing in on the scar itself, we are encouraged to think about biomedical technologies, the sciences of healing, tissue manufacturing and the microbiome of the wound site, or perhaps the biomechanics of a prosthetic device. On a larger stage, they permit and even challenge us to consider the neurological and behavioral sciences that contribute to the complex psychological and aspects of the post-traumatic life of a patient, family, and caregivers as well as the inspiration of scientific discovery. Ted’s work then moves us beyond the tight focus on the scar itself and causes us to consider a broader life story, to consider the value of storytelling, and to delve more deeply into all manners of healing. And it reminds us that just as there is beauty in the unique, there is also comfort in the commonplace, as we all share our own scar stories, and, perhaps, reduce the stigma of those experiences.
In collaboration with the National Museum of Health and Medicine, a division of the Defense Health Agency.
The use of this logo does not imply endorsement.