Omaha Public Radio News
11:43 pm
Tue December 9, 2008

Art and Medicine come together in new exhibition at Bemis Center

Omaha, NE – Nebraska Medical Center patients and doctors are profiled in a new art exhibition opening Friday at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts.

The exhibition is called "Here I Am and Nowhere Else: Portraits of Care." Artist Mark Gilbert spent more than two years at UNMC as an artist-in-residence. During that time, he built relationships with patients, their families and caregivers, and asked them to sit for portraits. What resulted was a series of paintings and drawings depicting the human side of illness.

Gilbert says the subjects of his artwork felt as though they were giving something back to society by sitting for the portraits. He says each person had their own unique reaction to the project and the portraits.

The portraits include a drawing and an oil painting of a man named Roger, who was suffering from Lou Gehrig's Disease. Gilbert says the sessions with Roger were among the most memorable. He hopes the public sees from the painting the unforgiving nature of ALS. Gilbert's painting shows Roger in a wheelchair, dependent on computers and wires. He's also wrapped in an Air Force blanket, which Gilbert says communicates what Roger's life was like before he was struck with ALS.

A series of public forums are scheduled in conjunction with the exhibition. "Here I Am and Nowhere Else" opens Friday at 6 PM.

The "Here I Am and Nowhere Else" exhibition includes these images: