Monday, March 30, 2009

Gallery: "Pain"

One of our readers sent this link of an amazing website devoted to pain. Palliative Medicine is no stranger to pain and the Pain Treatment Topics site has a plethora of information regarding pain topics. What our reader pointed out, however, was the website's gallery devoted to patients' portrayals of personal pain.

The site is quick to point out that many of their pieces are borrowed from yet another website called the Pain Exhibit. The Pain exhibit is devoted to personal artwork related to pain. The brainchild of Mark R. Collen, who himself suffered years of under treated pain, he found that art did more to communicate about pain than words themselves. The site is organized into themes such as "Suffering", "God and Religion", and "Hope and Transformation" to name a few.

What I appreciate most about both websites are the inclusion of statements from the artists. It adds so much more to be able to read something from the person who created the piece and the one suffering from the pain.

I'm including just a few of my favorites here. But be sure to follow the links and do some exploring yourself.

Title: Self Portrait, Green Shirt by artist Sterling Ajay Witt.

Artist's comment: "Pain is the beginning and the end of every day for me. I have suffered from chronic pain for so long that I can't imagine life without it anymore. As by back pain increased and the brace came into my life, I found myself painting an increasing number of self portraits. Through them I try to express a feeling I cannot put into words, attempting to explain the torment I am going through. For me, creating art is just something I do to hemp me survive a life of constant pain. It's as if the paintings have become a record of my pain, giving a face to an otherwise faceless enemy." Copyright 2007 Pain Exhibit (

Title: Chronic Pain - Life Distortion by artist Jenny Greiner

Artist's Comment: "I created my vision of what would represent my chronic pain. Beginning with the "eye being the window to the soul," I showed the clear, yet bloodshot eye, shedding the blood-stained tear. Then I realized that this whole living with chronic pain, is very disorienting. Things can start to spin out of control very easily. This represent my pain and the distortion and confusion it brings to my life." Copyright 2008 Jenny Greiner Http://

Title: CPII by artist Mark Collen

Artist's Comment: "This sculpture represents suffering from chronic pain." Copyright 2007 Pain Exhibit (

This next piece below was actually featured on the cover of The Journal of Pain and Palliative Care Pharmacology (2007) Vol. 21 NO. 2 but is also found in detail at the Pain Exhibit website here.

Title: A Liar Is Not Believed Even Though He Tells The Truth by artist M.R. Shebesta

Artist's Comment: "The painting is a representation of the flesh being scraped from my body. Shards of metal appear to slide and cut into the fleshy oil painted canvas that is held into place by intricate lacing of fishhooks and taxidermy floss. The painting floats in the center of a custom wood frame similar to the visual effects of primitive tribes' techniques for cleaning and drying animal hides" Copyright 2007 Pain Exhibit (

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