The inspiration for my art installation is based on a plastic mask worn by brain cancer patients undergoing radiation treatment. The custom made mask keeps the patient’s head perfectly still when lying down on a CT scanner. I have learned a great deal about brain cancer when someone very dear to me was diagnosed with cancer. I have experienced many emotions including fear. I am ready to respond to the experience the only way I know how: I will use my artist’s voice.
I was present to observe the molding of a custom radiation mask. First, a warm sheet of perforated plastic is draped over the face of the patient. When the plastic cools, it forms an exact impression. As an artist, I admired the mask for its lace-like texture and milky translucency. The mask glistened under the laboratory lights. I quickly dismissed those observations but never forgot that experience. Eventually I brought the mask to my studio.
Day after day I stared at the mask. At first it appeared alien-like and disconcerting. After a period of time, I finally had the courage to lift the mask to my face. Looking in a mirror, I could see my own reflection through the lace-like surface. This was the defining moment of my work. The art installation is not about cancer. It is about the life force from within. I will move away from fear. I will focus on the human spirit and acknowledge the life force that lives deep inside all of us.