Bethany Noël Murray: "Brains are Cool, Even When They Hurt"
September 17, 2019-December 12, 2019
Opening Reception: September 26, 5 - 7 pm
From the Artist
I have had chronic migraines for over twenty years of my life. I began making paintings to show the incredible beauty that accompanies this strange neurological condition, as I have always been fascinated at the neurobiology behind the imagery I see. One of my daily symptoms is an ocular disturbance called ‘aura’. Superimposed in my vision is a shimmering wave of lights, colors, black holes, and other unsettling but beautiful neurological artifacts. My paintings have been proof to myself of what I experience during an attack, and despite the pain, I’ve made the choice to see the good, weird, and beautiful, and I hope my paintings help my viewers find bits of unexpected joy in the natural world.
I paint about the woods, as it has always been a refuge. I’m highly sensitive to light, so what would be painful in the city is beautiful when I’m hiking. On a forest trail, I experience a kaleidoscope of fracturing leaves, brush, and canopy that are gorgeous in their strange Alice-in-Wonderland glory, complete with heightened color and light. I experience the symptoms of macroscopia and microscopia and depict them in my work to give my audience the fascinating experience of these dissociating neurological effects without the pain. I work with white and black gesso, using the black of the canvas to be the darkness and shadow, and add the light in a swirling, patterning effect that mimics the aura I see all the time.
Learn more about Bethany at her website.