Portfolio > Beyond the Landscape

The Burn Victim
The Burn Victim
5 1/2 " x 7 1/2"

A poignant photo from a New York Times magazine inspired this piece. I had clipped and saved it, and in 2011 rediscovered it. In the photograph three doctors are carrying a burn victim down a corridor. They had just finished bathing and dressing her wounds, and did not want to put her back on a dirty stretcher. The photo was shot while they were carefully walking her back to her room.

I first drew the image with water-soluble crayons onto Plexiglas, then printed it on a heavy cotton paper. I wasn't happy with the initial results, so I drew into it with colored pencils, painted with gouache and then decided to stitch into the image of the patient. I poked holes around her figure with a nail and then used a large embroidery needle and kitchen twine to stitch the image of the victim. The kitchen twine kept breaking and I had to rethread the needle several times.

The process of piercing and stitching with the needle related to the theme of pain and suffering, healing and caretaking. This artwork is an abstracted version of the photo. But in keeping with the theme of the initial image, I felt it was important to emphasize the hands of the three doctors who are carrying the patient. This in a sense helps the artwork retain a hopeful quality in what I initially viewed as a harrowing image.