Monday, March 24, 2008

The Telegram: A fresh look at Madness

'A History of Madness' is a visual investigation of how mental illness has been treated, classified and stigmatized throughout history.

"Visual artist Michael Pittman is speaking from his Grand Falls-Windsor home, describing his latest project. Pittman is an artist known for his spare yet layered canvases, full of odd, telling shapes, "very singular and archetypal," and delicate colours sometimes offset with primary, or primal, blares.

But for the moment he has put down his paintbrushes and picked up some books. His "History of Madness" is intended to work on a couple of levels - not just as an exhibition, but also as a fact-based accounting of the treatment of the mentally ill over the past several centuries.

"I'm researching right now, doing the preliminary, formal reading - I just finished Foucault's 'Madness and Civilization,'" Pittman said. "I'm collecting material on how (madness) is and was viewed."

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