Feel Sighted-  Touched By Art - Takepart.com Sept 2011

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Touching art at a gallery or museum is generally against the rules, yet a new show  at Santa Monica's Bleicher/Golightly Gallery challenges this tradition, encouraging patrons to  literally feel the exhibited art.

"Feel-Sighted," a group exhibit displays works created for that specific purpose. Artists, several of them visually impaired invite viewers to don blindfolds and enjoy the works with their fingers, instead of their eyes.

Curator Anna Kim says the work is a collaboration between herself, gallerist Om Bleicher, a team of artists and The Center For The Partially Sighted. 

Explaining the concept she reveals. "Initially, I was just trying to find a different way to experience art, but things evolved. Its always taboo to touch work, so the challenge wasto find artists who integrated touch as a key to experiencing their work. After some searching  I found The Center For The Partially Sighted, and things clicked."

Launching September 3 a portion of the proceeds from Feel Sighted, will be donated to The Center for the Partially Sighted, an L.A.-based non-profit. The center brings technological training and assistance to those who have lost their sight to help them live independently, and also creates opportunities for them to lead fulfilling and productive lives  www.low-vision.org.

Ladonna Ringering, CEO of the center says the show is a great vehicle for helping the partially sighted, who use touch as a critical element for their therapy. "It encourages them to  be more sensitive to their tactile environment. They cant enjoy art the way those with full sight do, so this gives them a valuable opportunity."

Asked about the work Bleicher/Golightly gallerist Om Bleicher offers, "Employing a diverse vocabulary of textures, forms, and even temperatures, these works invite new considerations and critiques of the traditional visual-only reception of art. It showcases artists who rely heavily on their senses of touch to create their works. The idea was to create work that felt as great as it looked and synthetically inspire the viewer to enjoy it wholly, not just through sight alone."

The show launches September 3 at Bleicher/Golightly Gallery, located at  1431 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica CA 90401. Enquiries to bgArtDealings.com  or 310 878 2784

Ted Meyer Scarred For Life -Takepart.com Sept 2011

Surgical scars aren't generally regarded as visually appealing, yet Los Angeles artist Ted Meyer redefines this visual taboo, creating an object of beauty, and  aiding in the healing process.

Meyer's mono-prints are taken directly off the skin of various subjects. Technically, he accentuates the details of a scar with gouache and color pencil, transforming a symbol of suffering into a cathartic portrait.

Now comprising over sixty prints, Meyer's show Scarred For Life travels to museums and galleries nationally and internationally and is currently on display at the Mor York Gallery in Highland Park Los Angeles.

Meyer tells Take Part he is usually approached by his subjects, who contact him after hearing about his project online or via a medical institution. "I document the upheaval of people's lives, the record of that is the scar on their body. I'm documenting that exact moment when their life changed."

Having .suffered from Gaucher disease at an early age, Meyer is not merely a spectator, or ghoulish voyeur he has endured first hand the pain of surgery and its psychological ramifications.

"Most of my early artistic career focused on me. I used to do a lot of painting and drawings about pain and mobility.  For years I was quite badly effected by Gauchers disease, though artistically I had never thought much about my own scars from multiple joint replacements and a spleenectomy."

After a chance meeting with a wheelchair bound former dancer in 1998 he found inspiration for his current series.  "I realized I no longer had anything to say about my medical condition, so I should make statements about other people's lives and conditions. Maybe I'd become a documentarian."

Meyer said he realized scars can mark entering into or out of a disability. "Going from cancer to health, limited mobility to full movement, they freeze a moment in time. My hope is to turn these lasting monuments, often thought of as unsightly, into things of beauty."

Now, Meyer says he will keep on adding to this collection for the rest of his life, though documenting scars is just one component of this project. "One of the most important things I do is talk to patients, medical students and doctors, its an evolving assignment. I am the first artist in residence at the UCLA  Geffen Medical School."

This sees him not only create his scar art, but also talk to med students about what life is like for long term patient, having been one himself. "There isn't any medical application directly related to my Scars project, but I do work with med students on the impact of long-term recovery on patients.  I talk about patient  and doctor  interaction.  I use the scar stories as well in these lectures.  I also curate art shows based on the curriculum they are studying."

In addition to his touring Scarred For Life exhibit,  Meyer recently installed a show  matching work done with electron microscopes by both researchers and artists. He has also started a business with an art therapist that marries his perspective as a long term patient and that of a learned therapist www.artandmed.com

Sacrred For Life can be viewed at Mor York Gallery, 4959 York Blvd Highland Park CA 90042. 323 663 3426