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2019 Honorable Mention - Peggy Randon

Integrating Health and Society

Health science and Visual Art have numerous crossovers, whether it's in the introspective nature of humans to use pictures to express their opinions for emotional fulfillment; the patience, innovation, and alternative artistic and visual skills that hold merit in the image-based world of medicine; or even our care and manipulation of the environment for our aesthetic pleasure. Ultimately, the exploration of the two themes in isolation and their intersections allow for a better understanding of one's own well-being and one's alignment and development within the world around her.

Science has been the foundation of my exploration, with many personal, conceptual ties. Within my time as a practicing artist, I have worked with mediums experimentally, exploring different perspectives of Wellness (Emotional, Physical, Mental, and Social Health, more recently with a focus on Spiritual health, as well as 'how one's culture influences one's health beliefs'). Through the various medias of monotypic art, watercolor on canvas, colored pencil, and mixed media art and the histories of South Asian cultures, Black and American culture, I have focalized Wellness-- or the lack thereof -- through vestigial issues in the respective societies) across the world. The mediums used often reflect on my theme, whether in size, durability, or application. Many artistic time periods and styles have come to influence my personal style and the materials I used. I take inspiration from 60s style Psychedelic Art (highly contrasted and pigmented colors, distortion of images, exaggerations, unnatural environments), Dada and Surrealism (juxtaposition of objects and images-superimposing one on the other), Impressionism (more realistic portraiture, splotches of color left without blending), 15th and 16th Century Etching (attributed to the explorations of Daniel Hopfer; subtractive patterns on plexiglass), as well as Post-Modern styles (collage, found objects, etc.). Many of the time periods were referenced in conjunction with elements of Realism. Artists as mentors for my work have varied from Kehinde Wiley to Daniel Hopfer to Margaret Keane. A theme particular of my artistic style is to manipulate a figure or a symbol, and use its connotation to assert a new meaning.

Generally speaking, Wellness is a conscious, self-directed and evolving process of achieving full potential that is multidimensional, positive and affirming. I began with a simple idea, using the six major branches of health as my muse and carefully tying each work to a specific type of health. Through my work, I explore myself through a broader lens, with motifs of women figures, adolescents, Black Americans, liberation and high contrast. All in all, I aimed for each piece to be able to stand alone as a overall symbol, rather than a snapshot, of the message I chose to convey. I have found that the processing of issues in these categories leads to summative statements that can be taken to better one's health overall.

Throughout my exhibition, there is transition from isolation and oppression or self-inflicted turbulence, to open-mindedness and finally an overwhelming liberation. The final piece of the exhibition is a self-portrait that aims to show my own personal liberations. When I was younger, I began losing my hair and I was bullied because I did not look like the 'beautiful girls that I idolized on television or the girls in my school or in ballet classes. Despite this, my parents remarked on how confident I remained and how I should look back on these life experiences and gain wisdom from them. Grown From Concrete discusses Emotional Health. The items scattered in the background are images that motivated me when I was young to be unique and love myself no matter what; the flower in my mouth represents the innocence that liberated me. Being able to be happy, self-confident, self-aware, and resilient through past strife and developing into the fortuitous person I am are achievements I hope to help others attain through viewing my art.

Moving forward, I intend to explore more three dimensional art as well expanding upon how beliefs are influenced by culture. The theme of Health itself can be endlessly explored, and the beauty of the craft is the continuation to address controversies, form opinions, and manipulate medias.