(Through December 12) Open Door Gallery: Bethany Noël Murray – "Brains are cool (even when they hurt)"


(Through December 12) Open Door Gallery: Bethany Noël Murray – "Brains are cool (even when they hurt)"

Event Presenter: 
VSA MA: The State Organization on Arts and Disability

Artist's Reception Thursday September 26, 2019, 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Artist's Statement

I have had chronic migraines for over twenty years of my life. I began making paintings to show the incredible beauty that accompanies this strange neurological condition, as I have always been fascinated at the neurobiology behind the imagery I see. One of my daily symptoms is an ocular disturbance called ‘aura’. Superimposed in my vision is a shimmering wave of lights, colors, black holes, and other unsettling but beautiful neurological artifacts. My paintings have been proof to myself of what I experience during an attack, and despite the pain, I’ve made the choice to see the good, weird, and beautiful, and I hope my paintings help my viewers find bits of unexpected joy in the natural world.

I paint about the woods, as it has always been a refuge. I’m highly sensitive to light, so what would be painful in the city is beautiful when I’m hiking. On a forest trail I experience a kaleidoscope of fracturing leaves, brush, and canopy that are gorgeous in their strange Alice-in-Wonderland glory, complete with heightened color and light. I experience the symptoms of macroscopia and microscopia and depict them in my work to give my audience the fascinating experience of these dissociating neurological effects without the pain. I work with white and black gesso, using the black of the canvas to be the darkness and shadow, and add the light in a swirling, patterning effect that mimics the aura I see all the time.

Learn more about Bethany at her website.


VSA MA's Open Door Gallery promotes the work of artists with disabilities and shifts our community's perceptions of ability while enjoying quality art.

Open Door Gallery Boston hours are Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. at the NonProfit Center, 89 South Street, Boston, Mass. 02111.