A lifelong passion for stitchery coupled with a fascination of the inner-workings of the human body led to my interest in observing the work being done in the Center for Transplantation at Montefiore. Awed by the beauty of transplantation and its power to shape and influence a person’s future, health and culture, I was inspired to create this body of work following the life changing experience of being in surgery. Shadowing the physicians and interviewing staff and patients shaped the conceptual elements of my work, while my materials and artistic practice evoke the surgical process.
The Art of Transplant
This exhibition illustrates the evolution of transplant surgery in conjunction with a contemporary interpretation by artist-in-resident Brittany Miller. The exhibition represents the culmination of Miller’s yearlong collaboration with the Montefiore Einstein Center for Transplantation.
During the summer of 2015, Brittany Miller observed surgical procedures and spent many hours interviewing surgeons, staff and patients. Additionally, she read historical, cultural, and medical texts that referenced the transplantation of vital organs in the US and around the world. Miller draws upon historical quilt-making traditions to Mexican retablos paintings to artistic processes that relate to healing and corporeal transformation. The result is a body of work that is a cultural, sociological and ethnographic commentary on surgical life.
In Miller’s artwork, richly-dyed hides are stitched together with suture thread suggesting the intricate, sinuous embroideries on one’s vital organs. In her journals and drawings, one sees repetitive marks and strikes that meander across the page evoking sutures. The vibrant color palette mirrors the beauty of the human body’s organs. Miller’s artistic pursuit of the study of transplantation is best examined in weaving, a metaphor of the connection between organ recipients and their donors.
Brittany Miller lives and works in Manhattan. She is a graduate of Pratt Institute. Her work is included in numerous private collections.