Launch Pad Gallery: Featuring the work of local emerging artists.

Personal Pieces

Works Exploring Mental Illness & Identity
by Boz Schurr & Ila Kriegh


About the Show

There is a strange disconnect between mental illness and normalcy. As if there is a stark, dividing line between the two. Black and white, completely separate. Us and Them. I believe this arbitrary classification – ill, healthy, recovering etc. is very similar to how we catalog our colors – blue, red, green, etc. The visible color spectrum reflects the human experience in the sense that colors cannot be contained as single, definable points. The spectrum is actually one band of ever shifting, ever transitioning hues, as are we; our lives and our experiences are continuous and overlapping, yet discreet.

All persons exist in a world with other persons. We interact daily with a wide range of people and personalities. It is not possible to limit your experience to “normal.” We are but one piece in the cosmos. No one exists in a vacuum. So instead of pushing past others whose mental or physical health might not reflect exactly our own, we embrace.

We are made of many parts, parts to our personalities, our bodies, and as one part to the rest of the world.

This collection of drawings and paintings are both illustrative, narrative and use subtle humor, rainbows and faces to suggest that we are all connected to each other; as the human race and as a thinking, feeling people.

~Boz Schurr

The subjects of mental illness and identity are close ones to the artist.  Throughout history many poetic, artistic and creative icons have experienced some form of mental illness. This correlation between intensive creativity and mental confusion is a wondrous mystery. The artist and philosopher are as brother or sister, exploring an ineffable realm. Perhaps in searching for the ultimate description or purpose of life or delving into our own selves in ways we cannot quite fathom, we are striving to work beyond our brain’s capacity and, therefore, causing a sort of short circuit. Edgar Allan Poe said of his affliction,

“Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence — whether much that is glorious — whether all that is profound — does not spring from disease of thought — from moods of mind exalted at the expense of the general intellect.”

My sister has severe Cerebral Palsy. About a year ago she went into a deep depression. She quit speaking for 6 months; a terribly quiet time interrupted by even more terrifying fits of screaming and crying. She could not use her words to express her emotions and so we, her family, could not understand what had gone wrong or how to fix it. When she
finally woke from this “vacation” –as she later titled it- she took an unexpected interest in painting.

Having grown up with my sister I have developed an intense curiosity in and empathy for all that seems insufferable in the world. I have been fascinated with the disabled students in my schools, the people in the care facilities my sister has moved in and out of and homeless people with mental illnesses as they shuffle by talking to themselves. It is hard for me
to grasp why others might not have the desire to help or understand these people in the ways that I do. Sometimes I think, perhaps it is a fear that we are all walking this “thin line between creativity and insanity.” Looking
these people in the eye is, in a way, like peering into a mirror at who we truly are or may be underneath the shells we have constructed throughout our lives: confused, alone, naive, tiny, misunderstood, beautiful.

~Ila Kreigh

About the Artists

Ila Rose Kriegh grew up in Eugene, Oregon. Kriegh has a twin brother and an older sister. Her older sister, Rena, has been a recurring source of inspiration for Kriegh throughout her art and her life. Rena has severe cerebral Palsy, but more importantly a hilarious whit and profound ability to enlighten.

Having grown up battling for her single super-mother’s attention with a twin brother and disabled sister, Kriegh found release in expressing herself artistically. She also took to hitchhiking and pretending to be homeless. Eventually her West coast naiveté found her robbed and in a shelter in Brooklyn where she resolved to change her approach to life. The slight bit of experience Ila has gathered from her travels and her empathy for odd folk has played a major roll in the art she makes.

In 2007 she graduated from the University of Oregon and joined a band.

She now lives in an apartment in Portland, with her extremely supportive and patient partner, where she spends most of the day painting and occasionally taking care of other people’s babies.

She yearns to adventure and have a dog.

Boz Schurr is a graduate of the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa and received her Master’s of Fine Arts Degree with a concentration in drawing and painting in 2011.

She is based out of Portland, and Salem, Oregon where she is a gallery curator, photographer and freelance illustrator.

www.ilarose.com
www.bozschurr.com

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Selected Pieces

click thumbnail for a full-size view.

Ila Kriegh
Ila Kriegh
Ila Kriegh
Ila Kriegh
Ila Kriegh
Ila Kriegh
Ila Kriegh
Ila Kriegh
Boz Schurr
Boz Schurr
Boz Schurr
Boz Schurr
Boz Schurr
Boz Schurr
Boz Schurr
Boz Schurr
Boz Schurr
Boz Schurr
Personal Pieces web card
Personal Pieces web card