Open through this weekend, A Year In Rotation is an emotionally probing exhibit of striking linoleum block prints alongside narratives of a medical student’s experiences and observations. The full stories by Jack (that’s his coat) are available to read at the gallery. Today & tomorrow, 12-6.
Anna McNeary, the artist/printmaker, studied printmaking and sociology at Smith College. A few aimless months after graduating, she began this collaboration with Jack Angiolillo.
Her work ranges in style from graphic illustrated narratives to the abstract, textural, and ethereal. Experimentation with traditional and contemporary printmaking approaches informs the way she makes art across media.
Anna grew up in New Jersey, and now lives in Oakland, California, where she makes prints at the Compound Gallery and Studios. She has printed at San Francisco Center for the Book, Asheville BookWorks in Asheville, NC, Museo Taller Erasto Cortes in Puebla, Mexico, Apiary Press in Northampton, MA, and Amherst College print shop.
Jack Angiolillo, the medical student, studied chemistry and studio photography at Amherst College. After graduating in 2008, he performed structural biology research in Germany; then in the next year, worked as a second grade classroom assistant in East Harlem while applying to medical school. He is currently in his last year of the dual MD/MBA program at Columbia University, planning to begin an internal medicine residency in June.
He conceived of this collaboration during his first year of clinical rotations. The rapid sequence of emotionally raw moments with patients was difficult for him to understand. When he tried confiding in his friends outside of medicine, too often the conversation would veer toward the voyeuristic. He wanted to find another way to express what it means to practice medicine for the first time. That’s when he sought Anna’s help.
This project is a partnership between a medical student and an artist. Both of us have a story to tell. One is equipped with an intimate, first-hand experience of learning to practice medicine for the first time. The other, the artist, meets the challenge of visually translating an unfamiliar narrative.
These illustrations were born out of conversations. Jack’s storytelling brought Anna closer to his experiences. After listening and probing with questions, Anna drew sketches of imagined visions of these vignettes. Jack countered with art direction. Amherst College professors, Betsey Garand and Justin Kimball, gave guidance throughout. After several back-and-forth exchanges, Anna pulled a small reduction linocut edition of each image.
Together, we repeated this cycle to create twenty four distinct prints. We chose prints as a medium because we love them. We love their crispness and the tradition of graphic drama that accompanies relief printing. We rely on solidity, contrast, the fluidity of line, and the expanses of its absence to convey these moments’ significance.
What began as a way for one of us to process the jarring and complicated transformation from student to medical professional became a collection of stories told by both of us, through both words and pictures. Our hope is that these images and text will speak to the challenges of the introductory clinical year. May this work reveal the emotional experience of suddenly being at the other end of the stethoscope, feeling the warmth of another who seeks your help.