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Illness depicted through painting

Art Education senior Mary Hughmanick channeled her emotions and experiences into her artwork currently displayed in the Bear’s Den. The five pieces were all inspired from her personal experiences surrounding illness. Illness can be a very hard, ugly thing to go through for anyone, but Hughmanick has been able to turn the bad into something beautiful.
“These pieces have been my personal therapy, said Hughmanick. “Over the past few years, my family has had health issues that affected me greatly.”
The first work of art on the far left was inspired by her father’s stroke, titled, “Father: Basil Ganglia Snap.” The adjacent painting, titled, “Grandmother: The Silent March,” depicts her grandmother’s battle with cancer. Hughmanick also painted about her mother’s ovary removal and threats of cancer; “Mother: Growth of Internal Poison.” She used bees to represent her brother’s struggle with allergies in the painting, “Brother: 100 Needle Stings.” The final painting, “Self: A Perspective Moment,” displayed in the set, was inspired by all her family medical issues as well as her own health issues revolving around thyroid testing.
In the paintings, Hughmanick explained that the scene represents a family member and the insects are symbolic of the sickness they had to face.
“This really helped me cope with the sicknesses surrounding my family that felt like a curse,” commented Hughmanick.
She was able to transfer her emotions onto the canvas by creating oil and watercolor paintings that use symbolism to share her stories. In the paintings, viewers will observe pure colors and carefully layered work that creates a sense of depth within the colors of the images.
“Watercolor is typically used to show realism and exactness, where I have challenged this in creating unsettling, creepy crawly visuals,” Hughmanick explained.
Her heavy use of symbolism urges the audience to question and yearn for the meaning behind the painting.
“Art has become my therapy; my way of communicating without speaking, and a method of dealing with things I have no control over by painting them out of me like extracting poison from a snakebite,” offered Hughmanick.
Releasing herself into every detail in the paintings, she was able to experiment with a new way of creating work while finding her own personal artistic style through symbolism.
“For the first time, everything has clicked,” added Hughmanick, “after having this angst build up for so long, it was nice to release it all into a painting.”
Hughmanick is learning new techniques and skills through each new artistic piece she works on. Her career goals include working as a high school art teacher in Berks County and being able to spend her free time working in a small studio creating new pieces.

By Haley Bianco

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