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Truth Painting; an excerpt

Excerpt from the article;

Embracing Art and Medicine written by Dan Gordon

David Geffen School of Medicine – Urology Update, Vol.27: No.4

On passing glance, it appears foreign, like a collection of characters in an Asian alphabet, its components sparingly echoed in the surrounding painterly chaos. But if we stop and stare long enough, the word slowly emerges in a grand thematic crescendo. And at the moment of epiphany, when truth finally articulates itself, the reflective material with which the artist chose to build the letters reminds us that our journey within has only just begun.

TRUTH, the work described above by Dr. Mark S. Litwin, UCLA Urology chair, was created by JonMarc Edwards, a Los Angeles artist best known for art that transforms composed writing into pictographic landscapes. Dr. Litwin commissioned his longtime friend to complete the three-dimensional piece, which hangs in a public space where it can be viewed by UCLA Urology patients.

“We wanted this to be not just nice to look at, but also something that would incorporate multiple levels of meaning so that patients who choose to look more closely will have something to think about, perhaps as a distraction from any anxiety they feel,” Mr. Edwards explains. “Using compressed text gives it an abstract appearance at first glance, but when you look a bit longer and break the code, you see that it’s legible. The big ‘truth’ is a mirrored piece of sculpture embedded onto the canvas, so that patients can see their own reflection and contemplate what truth means to them.”

Truth is the foundation on which the doctor-patient relationship is built, Mr. Edwards notes. Seeking truth is also central to the core mission of an academic medical center – striving to unravel the secrets of health and disease and working with trainees to build their skills, as well as serving individuals and populations in interpreting signs and symptoms while dissecting evidence to identify the right course of treatment.

“Art has the potential to take people away from the everyday,” Mr. Edwards says. “It can empower them with information and broaden their perspective.”

And the notion that art, in its many forms, has a place in a urology department is strongly held by Dr. Litwin. “Amid the ever-quickening pace of post-modern American life, words and letters often stream past in meaningless bytes, devoid of the inherent purpose of language,” he says. “This diminishes us. But JonMarc Edwards offers a solution. His sophisticated and engaging work captures our attention and demands that we pause to reconstruct fundamental concepts that are the building blocks of emotion, interaction and intimacy. In medicine, where we not only seek to heal but also to develop relationships with patients and their families, these concepts are at the heart of our work.”


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