Crucible is a new body of work I have put together around the theme of mental illness and the inherent cycle of annihilation, rebirth, and transformation that occurs during one’s journey through mental illness and beyond. Several of the works center around bipolar disorder and its highs and lows. Others deal with the fear of institutionalization and of radical mental illness treatments such as electroconvulsive (aka “electroshock”) therapy.

Lights and constellations in the sky become portents of divine intent, whether benevolent or malicious. Layers of paint peeled and scraped back indicate the passage of time and loss of memory. Different colors radiate different energies, some manic, some depressive. Manipulating pigment via shellac and flame creates unexpected transformations. Underneath it all runs an undercurrent of fear, fear of psychosis, of depression, of the asylum.

This is a very personal body of work; I have had bipolar disorder since around 1985. Hospitalized for suicidal intent in 1993, I wasn’t properly diagnosed with bipolar disorder for another two years. Finally I was able to begin medication that essentially brought me back to myself and enabled me to live a successful life.

Many people with mental illness are not as fortunate. A portion of the proceeds from sales of this work will be donated to the International Bipolar Foundation.