"I'm Not Crazy" 

Theme: Mental illness carries with it a stigma; many of us have experience with disorders, temporary or permanent, curable or not, that in the past and in some cultures even today would be labeled as crazy. That stigma can make it difficult to admit its effect on our loved ones or ourselves. Disorders as common as anxiety or depression, or less common, like schizophrenia or multiple personality disorder, can have a devastating effect on families and friends, and on ourselves. Negativity towards those who have these disorders often causes many people to keep the diagnosis hidden from friends and family. This exhibit focuses on experiences with mental illness from the eyes of the caregiver, the friend, or the family member, and, of course, those who have experienced any of these disorders themselves.

Curator: Kathy Nida
Juror: Sue Reno

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Juror and Curator statements

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Lea McComas
33” x 40”, ©2012
Trauma or mental illness damages structures in the brain. Effective treatment generates new brain structures to contain damage and create new pathways to mental health.
Recovery - Lea McComas
Glimpses of the Dark Angel
Karen S. Musgrave
31” x 23.5”, ©2012
Thomas Mann said that depression had its own angel with unique insights and a special vision. It took me thirty years to embrace his wisdom.
Glimpses of the Dark Angel - Karen S. Musgrave
Mal Être
Elizabeth Michellod-Dutheil
47” x 35”, ©2012
Mental illness in a family can knock life completely sideways, but not always in a bad way. Mother had Graves’ Disease and was never treated for it because the diagnosis was never established before her death. She suffered during her life (born in 1929) but the last 20 years were peaceful and full of joy. She loved colors, especially green, and was always in nature. Graves’ Disease is genetic and can be transmitted to subsequent generations of women. My daughter’s uneasy existence in her own life leads her to choose the color red when she draws. She often says that she feels that her face deforms itself to mirror her feelings of uneasy existence in this life, which can be at times intense. I have called my work “Mal Être” because my daughter is not well in her body and mind. She feels this uneasiness very strongly, not knowing what she wants from life. In my work, two principal colors--the soothing green and the red of revolt--are used to link the two generations.
Mal Être - Elizabeth Michellod-Dutheil
Held Together By a Thread
Susan Lenz
24” x 24”, ©2011
"Held Together By a Thread" speaks to the fragile condition and the patched-together lives of those coping with mental illness and disorders.
Held Together By a Thread - Susan Lenz
Harue Konishi
55” x 20”, ©2009
From simple tasks, complex representation.
SYO#42 - Harue Konishi
Good and Plenty
Melinda Bula
38” x 39”, ©2008
Coming to the realization that I would need to take a pill for the rest of my life was a tough reality to accept, but knowing that it would give me back the ability to see things vibrantly and colorfully made the decision easy. My favorite candy, Good and Plenty, reminds me of that pill.
Good and Plenty - Melinda Bula
All Alone and Blue
Cynthia St Charles
24” x 41”, ©2012
This piece depicts the loneliness and isolation engulfing a person in the depths of depression.
All Alone and Blue - Cynthia St Charles

Red Ravens
Judith A. Roderick
34” x 22”, ©2012
Sometimes, I am just extremely sensitive, and then life is too loud, too bright, too sharp, too jagged, just too much for me to process!

Red Ravens - Judith A. Roderick
Another Panic Attack
Jane B. Broaddus
34” x 29.5”, ©2012
Someone close to me suffers from panic disorder. Based on my observations, I depicted an attack where blackout closes in on a chaotic emotional state.
Another Panic Attack - Jane B. Broaddus
Circles No. 5
Judy Kirpich
41” x 39”, ©2010
My sibling was seriously ill, falling into a deep depression. This piece reflects his depression and despair and the brighter moments as he started to slowly recover.
Circles No. 5 - Judy Kirpich
Mary B. Pal
32” x 24”, ©2011
This homeless man clearly derives great enjoyment from a simple pleasure – in spite of what is a difficult life. Is that crazy?
Stogie - Mary B. Pal
Whee at the ALF
Karol Kusmaul
51” x 39”, ©2012
My impression of the less-than-enthusiastic attitude of a woman involved in an activity at the assisted-living home where my parents live.
Whee at the ALF - Karol Kusmaul
Moody Blues
Lois A. Sprague
31” x 24”, ©2012
Mental illness has many different faces--being moody, having the blues, or real depression, it affects us all in one form or another.
Moody Blues - Lois A. Sprague
Insane Asylum
Sylvia M. Weir
30” x 48”, ©2009
This piece began with numerous photographs of the insane asylum near the current Dairy Barn in Ohio that hosts Quilt National. Fence posts marking the boundaries wander along one side of the access road, some appearing quite normal until a full circuit is made; others dangle by the wires. Up on the hill is the graveyard neatly organized by time and gender with the last stones placed during the Reagan era, when he closed all similar facilities, putting these sad and faceless people on the street. Some families dropped off elderly confused relatives, some were runaways, and many suffered from mental illness and chronic malnutrition. Here they found some solace and work to do as they were able.
Insane Asylum - Sylvia M. Weir
In My Head
Carol Howard Donati
36” x 37”, ©2011
Ordered and disordered thinking
In My Head - Carol Howard Donati
Running Through
Nancy L. Bardach
63” x 44”, ©2008
Eroding gullies, descending forces, tense, tangled patterns ... abstract imagery representing the emotional tensions of chaos as it overwhelms one. Dense colors exacerbate the impact.
Running Through - Nancy L. Bardach
Alternate Universe
Gerrie Congdon
33” x 33”, ©2012
Dismayed by the political news, I thought I had awakened in an alternate universe. I was compelled to create the feeling of being someplace that is the reverse and upside down from normal.
Alternate Universe - Gerrie Congdon
Woven (for Jack)
Connie Rohman
54” x 38”, ©2012
This work is based on a drawing by my son Jack, who suffered from schizophrenia and took his own life at the age of 21.
Woven (for Jack) - Connie Rohman
Bipolar 1: Loco
Salli McQuaid
32.5” x 48”, ©2012
Without warning, my personality vacillates beween the fun-loving, confident, and uninhibited "western" side and the paranoid, depressed, and frozen "eastern side." I may be bipolar, but am I crazy? Hell no. I'm "Loco."
Bipolar 1: Loco - Salli McQuaid
What Next?
Kathleen McCabe
24” x 24”, ©2011
Always a long list of "disorders" to explain "unacceptable" behaviors. "What Next?" she seems to say.
What Next? - Kathleen McCabe