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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Local artist shows anatomy is beauty with new Congress lobby art

    Medical diagrams, exposed muscle and organs aren’t what people would normally categorize under the spectrum of things they want to see, but the works of local artist Laura Wilson Etter may be the exception. 

    In her first solo exhibit, “Medical Bodies,” Etter explores the conflict between the beauty of the internal human structure and the squeamish attitude most have toward it.

    Because this sounds like an exhibition exclusively aimed toward the iron guts of Tucson, Etter said she expects some hesitance to attend based on the topic of organs alone. She said she, herself, has mixed feelings regarding her subject matter.

    “I am also very squeamish,” Etter said. She’s recently had a lot of exposure to medical diagrams through her husband, a fourth-year medical student here at the UA. 

    Etter chose the subject of the exhibit by a combination of this and her son’s autism diagnosis, which heavily submersed her family into the field of medicine. 

    “It seemed like we were either at the hospital or a doctor’s office every day,” Etter said. 

    The heaviness encompassing this change for her family inspired the direction of the exhibition. 

    “[My husband] looked at everything very clinically,” she said.

    The exhibit focuses on this struggle between wanting to analyze ourselves on a purely structural level and trying to humanize such a foreign, yet inherently beautiful concept.

    “The first two pieces I created for this exhibition were focused on the heart, which we typically associate with emotions, and the brain, which we look at as more logical,” Etter said. 

    Etter is a mixed-media artist, who incorporates aspects of her home, Tucson, into work in more ways than one. Traditional shoutouts to the city’s cultural mores, such as images related to Día de los Muertos, are recurring themes in her work, but being a mixed-media artist, it is not uncommon to find things such as pieces of plastic or metal incorporated into her art. 

    One of her past works, “It all Unravels,” from a group exhibition titled “It’s a Matter of Time,” incorporates a watch, pages from old texts and paint. These objects carry their own contextual meanings that are immediately associated by the viewer, which works toward a general theme: in this case, decay. Etter said she feels that this medium adds an extra layer of depth for the viewer, since the eccentric medium allows viewers to see common household objects “a bit differently.” 

    While the subject matter was born of personal turmoil and dark times, the exhibit itself is meant to celebrate the beauty of the human body within the scope of art, rather than as something to be feared or looked at with a textbook’s sense of analysis. 

    Support Etter, a fellow Wildcat, at Hotel Congress from Nov. 11 to Dec. 9 as part of the “Art in the Lobby” series. Meet the artist herself at the artist’s reception Nov. 14 in the Hotel Congress lobby from 6-8 p.m.


    Follow Sasha Hawkins on Twitter.


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