Juliana Coles

Inside a generous border of “white space,”, which is blue, are three irregular horizontal rectangles that appear to have been created by ripping a single distorted vertical rectangle into thirds. The top rectangle blue block lettering knocking out of black background, reading “A STIFFENING OF THE BODY” and has a blue nude female figure lying on her right side above more block lettering, “TIGHTENING OF THE LARYNX.” The middle rectangle depicts a male face and a female face, both with right hands pressed to face and throat, against a deep red background. The bottom rectangle has flowing black script (on a blue background) that reads “sometimes a loss of bladder / rectal control.”

“As an epileptic, my reality is somewhat altered. It is through my work, whether it be a painting, drawing, Artist Book or Mixed Media Visual Journal that I have sought to piece together and understand my fragmented memories. My images are an attempt to create a personal history that I was not always a conscious participant in, as well as to raise awareness and compassion in the viewer by challenging them with my experience. My art empowers me to create order, clarity, and understanding in the midst of abnormal cerebral function.”

“Presently I am at work on Mysterious Disappearances Probed, an Illustrated Book in Visual Journal format that describes my experience of life Subject to Seizure. A Visual Journal is a mixed media book of self-expression that combines journal writing with art making in order to simultaneously access both the left and right hemispheres of the brain for deeper introspection. This is the creative process I designed. I teach internationally and also present my student show, now in its 6th year, that profoundly challenges humanity with its rawness and honesty. This process promotes self-awareness, growth, and transformation. When this book is published, I hope it will encourage others to begin to speak out about their secret world in order to facilitate open discussion and emotional healing. I can't heal my brain, but I can work through my feelings of inadequacy, that I was somehow a mistake, or that I must have done something terribly wrong to deserve this. My handicap has become my gift: no longer a handicap, but the intense essence of who I am and the very foundation of my mission in life. My brain is the delicate and imperfect core of the unique vision of my artwork and my teaching, and for that, I am grateful and full of respect for the mystery of this life.”

— Juliana Coles

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The North Fourth Art Center is operated by VSA arts of New Mexico, a not-for-profit organization, affiliated with The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and the national VSA arts network.