Jane, the artist, explained “Day 26 – OK, so this is rather hard hitting…. a small box canvas which possibly will be entitled ‘ Stark Reality’ – this one ‘s about the horror of this devastating disease. Throughout my enquiry, I have been focusing on two aspects of breast cancer – the nightmare, fear and anguish of it, and then the way that survivors must maintain a positive and hopeful outlook after surgery to help with the healing process…. I deliberately left each image faceless – as a nod to the countless women (and men) this affects, it could be any of us. Acrylic on box canvas. 20X20cms”
Another member of the group, Catherine, commented “This does affect so many of us … It may sound silly, but I love my scars because every day, they remind me what a privilege it is to be alive … I wear them with a sadness that I can’t express, for the countless people who haven’t been as fortunate as me. Your images have captured it all, from the gentle early images, to this, stark reality … I can’t speak for everyone who has been there, but for me, one of the things your images do is to reinforce my feeling, that we put too much emphasis on the ‘packaging’ of life. The nightmares, fear and anguish we experience over potentially becoming the stark reality when we’re faced with this disease, would be lessened if we put more store in the people inside the packaging. That’s just one of many, many reasons why all of your images are beautiful to me, so thank you for doing this Jane xx”
I found another older painting from 1997.
An article in The Daily Telegraph (2009) had this opening paragraph:
“On first glancing at this portrait of a nude woman seated, you will probably fail to register that she has no right breast. Your eye is drawn to her open, half-smiling face and expressive eyes. Momentarily, you see her as a whole woman because she looks so triumphant and self-possessed. Even when you have noted the diagonal scar across her chest, any suggestion of disfigurement is curiously absent.”
The very positive article, which is worth reading in full, went on to explain that it was being shown at the Louvre in Paris alongside Rembrandt’s Bathsheba, Raphael’s La Fornaria and Rubens’s The Three Graces in an exhibition called “The Art of Oncology”. I hadn’t realised that there was speculation that these paintings may show women with breast cancer.