by Elizabeth Jameson
Neurologists diagnose and track the progression of multiple sclerosis through MRIs of the brain. My diagnosis of MS in 1992 initiated a fascination with these eerie images, which I found frightening yet mesmerizing. I felt a strong urge to reinterpret my brain scans—to use them in my art to explore the wonder and beauty of all brains, including those with disease.
My life with MS includes being constantly confronted with scans of my changing brain. Because of this, I am familiar with the vulnerability that is associated with having scans of my naked brain—being exposed from the inside out. Through my art, I attempt to capture the feelings and emotions this technology evokes. My passion lies in creating art engendering the acceptance of illness as a part of being human. At some point in our lives we all become patients, and my art serves to explore and redefine this experience for the medical community and for the patient. My artwork forms a new kind of visual imagery, one that interprets a structure in which creativity, personality and selfhood reside alongside disease—reminding viewers that this gray tissue and the body that shelters it represent far more than illness and human imperfection.