Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Monday, November 7, 2005

Healing As Art: The Tale Of The Painting Doctors

There was once a small group of medical doctors (MDs) who wanted to create art.

To accomplish this, they first decided to study art to find what it was made of.

Photo credit: Lauren Lank

Using elaborate microscopes and measurement devices, they discovered that art was made up of ink on a canvas. With the help of the best high-tech equipment available, they applied thousands of tiny blots of ink to a canvas in the hopes of creating art.

But it wasn't art. It was just ink on a canvas.



Hoping to improve their results, one doctor noticed that art was usually made of different colors of ink. To succeed in creating art, he suggested, they would have to study these colors and find ways of applying them to the canvas.

Using even more elaborate instruments, they determined that ink colors were created by specific, measurable wavelengths of light reflected off the surface of the ink. By isolating different chemicals that absorbed certain wavelengths of light, they were able to synthesize chemical pigments with the appearance of different colors.

With this success in hand, they once again turned to the canvas, applying large quantities of chemical inks, in all varieties, in their attempt to create art.

But it still wasn't art. It was just a lot of different colored inks on a canvas.

Frustrated by the failure, another doctor in the group came up with the idea that since art obviously wasn't produced by the colored ink, then it must somehow be found within the canvas. They proceeded to dissect the canvas.

Using medical imaging equipment and an elaborate system of fiber classification, they were able to catalog and name over two hundred types of microscopic fibers found in the canvas. With this knowledge, the doctors were certain they now understood art. They knew the fiber structure of the canvas and the chemical composition of the inks. What more could art be made of?

Armed with this new scientific knowledge of art, they gathered enormous samples of all the fibers, chemicals and inks now known and combined them in a giant mass of ink colors and canvas fibers.

Only it still wasn't art. It was a flattened blob of canvas covered with multicolored inks.

In frustration, the doctors declared there is no such thing as art.

"If it cannot be scientifically replicated in laboratory experiments," stated one doctor, "it does not exist."

And thus art was thereafter banned from all scientific discussion, and artists were ridiculed for dallying in their colorful parlor tricks.

The art laboratory was abandoned, left to fade into dust, forgotten by the scientists and doctors who once thought they could understand art by naming its chemical constituents.

Not long after, a young girl happened across the abandoned laboratory. There, she was surprised to find the most brilliant collection of multicolored inks she had ever seen. They reminded her of a dream she once had with rainbows and fields overflowing with wildflowers.

Spotting an empty canvas, she dipped her finger into a pool of brilliant blue paint and began to smear it across the canvas. She followed that with a warm yellow sun, luscious green fields, and brilliant blotches of color that looked like flowers.

She didn't notice the wall charts, diagrams and reams of data around her in the room. She knew nothing about the chemical composition of inks, nor the structure of canvas fibers. She only knew that brilliant colors and a fresh canvas tugged at her creativity, opening a window of possibility through which she traced the dreams that once danced across the canvas in her mind.

It was art:

Healing is like art.

Neither healing nor art come from the physical matter, the chemicals, the molecules.

Neither healing nor art can be measured or understood as an inventory of parts.

Neither healing nor art exist anywhere but in the minds and hearts of those who materialize observable artifacts by acting on utterly non-scientific dreams and intentions.

Healing and art are much the same. Hence the term, "Healing Arts."

originally published by
Mike Adams on as:
"The tale of doctors who tried to create art"
on August 17th 2005
Copyright NewsTarget Network

Mike Adams -
Reference: NewTarget [ Read more ]
Readers' Comments    
blog comments powered by Disqus
posted by Matthew Guschwan on Monday, November 7 2005, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.




Real Time Web Analytics