Martens’ installation is a series of screen prints on paper that tell his story as a bone marrow cancer survivor. The unframed prints are mounted directly on the gallery wall like posters and are arranged from diagnosis to treatment, and finally remission. Martens offers this visual tour in order to share his weakness, vulnerability, defiance, and hope, as the illness turned his life upside-down. Says Martens, “Touring Myeloma is an attempt to put the cataclysmic experience into perspective through narrative. As cancer traveled through me, I traveled through cancer. This is the story of one man trying to hold on to his identity through adversity.”
As I respectfully walked through the perspective of Gregory's struggle, I was overcome with a sense that something bigger than myself was happening through his art; healing. Being in the field of art therapy, it is hard enough to try and relate what it is exactly we 'do' in our field, let alone explain the monumental power art has to help one heal through their own journey of inner exploration. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Art_therapy But I know it happens every day, as do many other art therapists who have either witnessed this phenomenon or experienced it for themselves. I intern at a hospital where cancer patients use art as a container to hold the turmoil surrounding their journey. It. Is. Powerful. And yesterday I watched Gregory's story unfold through serigraphy, screen printing. His struggle with battling cancer as a man and then overcoming the disease was palpable through his artwork.
Then I met Greg. What an authentic, true artist. He humbly spoke of his journey, his art, and his voice as a cancer survivor. My supervisor, the other interns and myself were blown away by this man. He was awe inspiring. I was so intrigued about his process and how the art played a role in helping him heal, (Greg said the harder he worked on the art, the more he healed) I am going to write my thesis around the healing quality of art and a case study of the artist, Gregory Martens, and his journey.
Today, my words and my art (see photos) are homage to people who are brave in the midst of the storm. There are many of you in my life and I am proud to say I know you. Thank you for your courage, it is a sweet inspiration.