Opening this Saturday, January 7th at the Articulated Gallery in San Francisco is the latest solo show from Arabella Proffer entitled Ephemeral Antidotes. Back in 2010 Arabella was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, and through the events that followed came up with the concept for this new show.
â€œAfter having a section of my leg removed, I began researching medicine from the Middle Ages through the 18th century; this series was a good way for me to work out my anger and be even more thankful that what I’m going through is nothing compared to old remedies and techniques. My art and interests were in the way society lived in the past, but with emphasis on the defiant, glamorous, and eccentric — not daily strife. You could have been rich, important, or beautiful, but if sick, you would still receive brutal or worthless treatment.â€
Arabella is flying out from Cleveland and will be in attendance for the reception from 8 – 11 PM, and there is a good chance her new book The National Portrait Gallery of Kessa will be available as well so you can get one of those and have her sign it right there. It’s going to be an amazing show, and a great way to kick off a new year. Make sure you you stop by and check out the work, meet the artist, and have some fun. Below are three preview images of works that will be in the show, and each image has a short biography to go along with it.
“An ambassadorâ€™s daughter with a passion for collecting, Gretchenâ€™s menagerie was near complete when her father brought her the gift of a leopard cub from his travels. It was a sweet little thing, soft and playful, abiding to his mistress when she dressed it up in clothes meant for little boys. But, even the smallest of creatures will start to give in to their nature. It was thought that a flock of geese had spooked him during a game of fetch on the lawns. Gretchen was adamant the leopard knew not what he did, that his claws were bigger than his wits when he mauled her at the legs, dragging her before his final release. No potions, no humours, no herbs or witchcraft could save her. The legs would come off, and all one could do was pray. Pray for the surgeon, pray for the tools, and pray she did not die from enduring it all. Gretchen would never be same after that, lost to a world of darkness and time, languishing in bed, never speaking a word except a whisper to her pets.”
“The spoiled and somewhat devious daughter of a provincial magnate, her coughing fits and coloring were said to have been caused by her 5 uncles incessant smoking. Lana inherited her motherâ€™s chest pains, but this the good doctor knew how to handle: smoke of burnt chicken feathers; a diet of radishes, or radishes rubbed on the skin; and teas made from violets. When the symptoms persisted â€“ irritating her uncles who were now forbade to smoke â€“ a surgeon said to have studied The Hippocratic Corpus, was called upon. Administering violets direct to the veins leading to the heart, he assured the family it would have a calming effect. Lana would perish not a month later, the product of a botched surgery, with flower petals lodged in her chest and much blood lost. The surgeon then conceded he had only skimmed The Hippocratic Corpus.”
“Believing that abundance was a breeding ground for boredom, she resorted to simplify her life when her parents had passed on, leaving her a modest house and income. Opting for an existence of piety, Mary had all the furniture and objects cleared away, until, â€˜nothing but surfaces of stone, wood, and few linen sheets remainedâ€™ according to the housekeeper. It was anyoneâ€™s guess how she contracted small pox in this environment. The servantâ€™s child? A beggar? The priest? When tinctures of yarrow flower did no good, a cure of wolf skin wrapped around the infected areas was ordered. Believing this to be too decadent, Mary opted for a fox instead. It was not the flies or the raw infection that caused her death only days later, but simply a case of bronchitis. The wise women of the town shook their heads, â€˜she should have chosen the wolf skin!â€™”