Exploring the mind-body connection
On the scene at Marylou Evans’ artist talk
Wed, Oct 14, 2009 (5:39 p.m.)
Flanked by Rosemary’s white-frocked waiters and delicate hors d’oeuvres, the intimate gathering listened to artist Marylou Evans speak about her work. She began with a ghost story. She told a tale from her childhood: the night the specter of an old Civil War soldier loomed before her in the hallway, an image perhaps fueled by growing up near an old Southern plantation in Georgia. Supernatural encounter? Fabrication of her imaginative young mind? For Evans, a drawing instructor at UNLV, the experience represents the beginning of her fascination with the inner workings of the brain and memory, which she now examines in her art.
Curated by Wendy Kveck, the works displayed in the show, titled Strata, explore the idea of layers of synaptic connections and layers of consciousness built from “our personal experiences, which form our personality.” Each piece is made of several sheets of mylar, a thin transparent paper, upon which Evans lays washes of acrylic paint and graphite, sometimes peeling paint off and scratching back into the washes, building the depth of the composition with each new sheet. She compares the peeling and scratching to the brain of a person undergoing psychological therapy and the real physical changes in the brain that result from the treatment.
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“I went through an illness, and looking at the MRIs and realizing it was the interior of my brain and realizing how beautiful it was, how the blood vessels intertwined,” she said after the October 5 talk, “the illness contributed to my thought process and made me more aware of the mind-body connection.”
Even if you don’t know her personal story, those ideas resonate in her pieces. “In looking at the work, even before the lecture,” attendee Natalia Naff said, “each piece was like seeing inside a human body or looking through a microscope at a slide. Things like this can be in-your-face and repulsive, but she really finds beauty in the body-brain connection.”