Featured Pain Art: “Resonance Offering”

Featured Pain Art: “Resonance Offering”

"Resonance: Offering" oil on MRI film 17 inches long x 14 inches wide

“Resonance: Offering”
oil on MRI film
17 inches long x 14 inches wide

Pain is a solitary truth that defies communication — maddeningly subjective and resistant to language and measurement. To live in pain is to live in isolation.

In the absence of speech, a visual language of metaphor is a constructive tool, creating artifacts that can function as the speaking self.

In “Resonance Offering”, the MRI grids of the brain document both the origin of pain and the concept of a self. Their altered surface is wrought with physical struggle: opaque paint obscures the film, scratched drawing removes its surface, collage both asserts and denies a third dimension. These tensions embody the eloquent communication of the visual metaphor.

This art a courtesy of PainExhibit.org, an online educational, visual arts exhibit from artists with chronic pain who use art to express some facet of the pain experience.

The Pain Exhibit’s mission is to educate healthcare providers and the public about chronic pain through art, and to give voice to the many who suffer in silence.

Pain Exhibit recently launched its new Spanish language website at PainExhibit.org/es.

Authored by: Susan Gofstein

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John Quintner

Thank you Susan for expressing so eloquently a truth that biomedicine has found so difficult to accept – that pain is “maddingly subjective and resistant to language and measurement.” All attempts to reduce the lived experience of pain to a graspable “thing” have to date failed. The latest proposal along these lines has been to elevate chronic pain (a symptom) to the status of an as yet unnamed disease. Doubtless others will see this as a positive step but I remain unconvinced and would like to suggest that we will continue to be challenged by this one of life’s “aporias” that we call pain.