“The aim of the wise is not to secure pleasure, but to avoid pain.”Aristotle
Several years ago, I descended into spinal purgatory, unable to walk or stand for very long. Suffering with unrelenting leg and hip pain, I tried exercise, meditation, physical therapy and acupuncture. Having been diagnosed with scoliosis, spondylolisthesis and stenosis, I started to visualize the anatomy of my lumbar spine and what it meant to be out of alignment. I imagined the spine’s complex network of bones, muscles, nerves and discs and how they could be causing me so much discomfort.
Using sculpture and photography as a means of expressing my pain, I created artworks that reflect my desire to understand what was happening to my vertebrae and how surgery might change the structure of my spine.
This series of photographs, from sculptures I have created, focuses on my perception of pain and the spine and how pain can impact mortality and my perception of aging. Based on my medical diagnoses, I perceived my body and my vertebrae as both organic and inorganic materials with the spine out of shape, constricted, disintegrating or collapsing.
Through allusion and metaphor, I am addressing images of pain sensations and options for living. For this series, I have created a visualization of what my spine looks like to me--not the real spine, but an unorthodox view of my anatomy. These photographs convey my feelings of living with a disability, the pain of aging and daily confrontation with my mortality.