14 December 2007
This is a painting I have been working on some time now, since roughly the beginning of my mother's illness. It is mainly a response to how the medical field is founded upon the oath to improve, nurture, and sustain a person. Having a family history rooted in medicine (pharmacology, nursing, anesthesiology), I have a keen interest and thirst for the particular knowledge. But what I am most frustrated with is the legal and financial issues associated with it. Often counter intuitive to helping a person.
As far as it tying into the theme of backwards, the mask is a symbol brought from the Bubonic Plague. Doctors would use these clothes and mask to prevent themselves from being infected. In the long beak of the mask, smelling salts were packed so as to purify the air. a tunic of pure linen or waxen cloth was worn and gave him the appearance of a mournful bird. He also would wear spectacles on the mask and furthermore always had his trusty staff with which he removed the clothes of plague-victims, thinking that in this way the terrible epidemic would not bring him any harm. So in essence, the doctors were trying to help the people, but only spread the disease more so. Thus, being quite backwards as to their original intention.