A collection of paintings by Paul Weiner called Illness and Expression is featured in the Biblio Gallery on the 4th floor of Bird Library. Weiner, who hails from Aurora, Colorado, is a double major in painting and political science.
In reflecting on his work, Weiner says:
How does the aesthetic of abstraction change when the artist’s brain is suffering from a chemical imbalance?
My recent series of artwork explores the connection between mental illness and the aesthetic manifestation thereof. As someone who suffers from a severe anxiety disorder, I have been on many regimens of prescription drugs to control chemical imbalances in my brain. This artwork was created throughout the steps of my withdrawal from anti-anxiety medication. As my medication depleted and my anxiety level rose, I found myself creating more inventive ways of applying paint to canvas. Such a trend suggests that, while anxiety may be an extremely disturbing issue in my own life, it also provides much of my creative inspiration.
These artworks also comment on current political issues involving mental illness and violence by portraying mental illnesses in a positive context. The mentally ill are often viewed in a violent light as a result of recent media surrounding mass-shootings and gun control. However, the vast majority of mentally ill people, such as myself, will never commit murder, much less mass murder. Whether or not they are willing to reveal it, mentally ill people surround you everyday; we are your classmates, friends, neighbors, and family.
I hope that this work can dispel the recent, violent connotation of mental illness just for a moment so that viewers may respond to the positive creative potential linked to some of these illnesses.”
The exhibit will be on display through late October 2013.