the meds i'm on

Featuring: Mayumi Amada, John Ilg, Rachael Jablo, Caitlin Karolczak, Nicole Medearis, Dougie Padilla, Sammy thrashLife, and Inna Valin

With Performances by: Eddie Estrin and Mike Croswell

Exhibition Run:  March 21 - May 9, 2015                        

Opening Reception: Saturday, March 21, 6-8pm

Video Screening: Friday, April 17, 6-8pm

Panel Discussion: Thursday, April 23, 6:30-8pm        

About 50% of Americans regularly use one or more prescription drugs.  Over 10% of us take 5 or more prescription drugs regularly[1]. Often these medications help us live longer, healthier lives. Often there are side effects.  Sometimes the meds make us worse.  The same may be true for illicit drugs, of which 9% of Americans partake.  Sometimes the ‘getting high’ or self-medication is a helpful break from reality, or a mild anti-depressant, sometimes it leads to addiction, side-effects, and overdose.

The idea for this exhibit came as I was walking down 10th street and overheard a man saying to a friend, “The meds I’m on…” and he went on to talk about the side effects.  I knew instantly that I wanted to do this show.  I guessed we were the most medicated culture in history, and knew it was on our collective mind.  It gives us an uneasy feeling. Are we winning a battle with nature? Are we overmedicating? Are the pharmaceutical companies overselling us? As the drugs pass from us, we find many of them in our water supply. When we live past our natural moment of death, is the grim reaper still knocking? Or is this just the miracle of being human? What does the prevalence of anti-depressants say about our society?

Within a couple months of the day I overheard the man on 10th street, I went from being one of the 50% of Americans taking no prescription meds to the 10% that takes 5 or more regularly, and I’m probably now living past what me and nature would have worked out on our own.  So the show feels pretty weighty on a personal level.

This exhibition is a venue for conversation about our personal experiences with, or observations of medicine, aging, healthcare, addiction, etc.  Come think with us.


The Artists

John Ilg is a meticulous assemblage artist that follows both the money and the medicine in American culture.  He works purely as an external observer, shining a light on America’s status as the most medicated, most expensive healthcare system

Sammy thrashLife is a nomadic painter and illustrator who tells his own personal journey through addiction, recovery and finding his way through art while calling out American Society for its craziness, with incisive wit and perception.

Rachael Jablo shares her personal story of oppressive migraines, her four-year long search for partial remedies through the healthcare system, and the side effects of her medicines during this period. Her photographic series is titled, My Days of Losing Words, referencing the memory loss side effects of her medication, where even common words got lost and thus could not be spoken. 

Mayumi Amada is an installation artist addressing aging, impermanence, and healthcare.  As a Japanese artist she comes to these issues with an eastern philosophical viewpoint. As a long-term American resident she observes the systems of medicine here.

Dougie Padilla will be showing a large tree branch that he meditatively pounded full of nails in the tradition of African artists making nkondi dolls.  He says, ‘it’s the perfect thing to do at the end of my studio day, pound some nails’.  The perfect thing for him, for his well-being.

Caitlin Karolczak is a figurative painter with a mood and aesthetic akin to the European painters of the 17th and 18th centuries. A recurring element in her work is the medical illustrations from this period, reminding us that today’s western medicine contains its past, and while medicine today is more sophisticated , the dark wrestling with mortality remains.

Inna Valin is a street photographer working and living in the Twin Cities.  For this exhibition she offers a dark and vulnerable portrait of a man resorting to drinking mouthwash on a Sunday when the liquor stores are closed. 

Eddie Estrin/Mike Croswell will be performing multiple variations of improvisational music to the backbeat/soundtrack of a CT scan of the brain. Performances will take place during the opening as well as one other performance date for the exhibit.

Nicole Medearis has a video in this exhibition referencing self-medication by creating a concoction from bottles labeled 'Ego' and 'Money'. The concoction is poured into a shot glass labeled 'Damien Hirst', which she drinks. A Swedish fish in an identical shot glass is inserted as an ode to Hirst's body of work, and a symbol that after taking the drink she has become him. This piece embodies the self-medicating tradition of becoming someone else that individuals of our society seem to silently take part in. This is a documentation of becoming what you want by what you nourish yourself with. 

[1] According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention


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