March 05, 2008 15:45 ET

Exhibit Showcases Artworks Inspired by Pain and Healing

SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwire - March 5, 2008) - Intense feelings echo through a unique international exhibition of art created by orthopaedic surgeons and patients. "eMotion Pictures: An Exhibition of Orthopaedics in Art," sponsored and organized by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), debuts March 5-9, 2008 at the Moscone Center - West Building, and is free and open to the public. The exhibit showcases over 203 works of art by 153 artists from nine countries and 33 states, including 10 artists from San Francisco and surrounding areas.

"eMotion Pictures" celebrates both the transformational power of art and modern medicine's success in addressing a wide range of orthopaedic conditions, including scoliosis, degenerative discs, brittle bones, torn ligaments, traumatic skeletal injuries, congenital bone deformities and deteriorated joints.

A brief artist's statement links each work on display to the field of orthopaedics. Patients explain the disruptive impact of a chronic or transitory orthopaedic condition and how making art empowers them. Surgeons write that their admiration for the intricate beauty of the skeletal system and their respect for the courage of their patients have inspired them to produce art.

The juried show includes paintings, drawings, prints, photographs and textiles, as well as wood, metal, stone, beaded and glass sculptures. San Francisco-based artist Rebekah May was bedridden for a year and a half due to a severe back injury in 2005. Undeterred by her confinement, May found solace in her artistic expressions and created one of her two pieces to be featured in eMotion Pictures: "Chronicles of the Girl in the Purple Dress," a selection of drawings reflecting her loss, grief, coping, hope, strength, determination and spirituality.

Other San Francisco-area exhibitors include Bill Bruckner, an artist whose work has been exhibited in galleries throughout the United States. Bruckner was born with short arms at birth and was fitted with prostheses as a child. His intention is to create artwork that conveys disabled people's ordinary dignity, humanity and self-respect. His painting, "Celeste 2," is a dramatic portrait of a young woman seated in a wheelchair staring at the viewer.

Inspired by the work of Spain's Antoni Gaudi, Woodside, Calif., resident Xuan My Ho created a colorful mosaic that grew out of recurring dreams of being able to walk on the beach, dreams which she had during her two months spent in recovery after surgery to alleviate her of pain caused by hammer toes on both of her feet. At night, she repeatedly dreamed of walking barefoot on the beach, healed by the soothing, smooth, wet sand and clear, blue water. "Three months after the surgery, I began translating my dreams into a mosaic art piece that would come to represent the vital role which feet play in our lives," said Ho.

A basswood carving by Dr. Leonard Gerstein, titled "Orthopaedic Surgeon Reducing a Colles Fracture," represents the surgeon's hands at the precise moment of skillfully correcting the deformity of the most common wrist fracture. Dr. Gerstein is an orthopaedic surgeon based in Scotts Valley, Calif.

The presence of artists from around the world demonstrates that "eMotion Pictures" touches upon universal human themes. When Elon, N.C., artist Deborah Williams' art teaching career was cut short by a combination of chronic orthopaedic conditions, she became a full-time painter. Her study of five elderly women comfortably posing with walkers, crutches, canes or braces is Williams' salute to the mobility made possible by orthopaedic advances today.

Thailand's Dr. Dumronk Thanachanant, an orthopaedic surgeon and consultant to private hospitals in Bangkok and Pattaya, suggests that all orthopaedic surgeons study art as well as science. He is exhibiting a flowing, abstract watercolor study of a broken bone, illustrating his belief that human anatomy has great aesthetic appeal.

Oshkosh, Wis., is home to award-winning painter and sculptor Jon Wos, whose mobility is limited by a genetic condition -- osteogenesis imperfecta, a condition in which one's bones are brittle and imperfectly formed. His work has been exhibited in numerous venues, including the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. In addition to an oil self-portrait in a hospital bed following one of his many surgeries, Wos is represented in "eMotion Pictures" by two dramatic glass-and-ceramic sculptures. One is a skeleton chronicling his long history of fractures and surgeries. The other, a skeletal hand grasping a broken bone, salutes the resilience of his body.

Jurors for "eMotion Pictures" 2008 were René deGuzman, director of visual arts of the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts; John R. Killacky, Program Officer for Arts and Culture with The San Francisco Foundation and Paul Pratchenko, Professor of Art at San Francisco State University.

Exhibition hours are:

--  Wed. through Sat., March 5 through 8 from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
--  Sun., March 9 from 7 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

The "eMotion Pictures" exhibit will travel to the Chicago Cultural Center and open for public viewing April 17-July 20, 2008. A special pictorial exhibit exploring the history and growth of the field will be on display to mark the AAOS' 75th anniversary of the founding of the science of orthopaedics in conjunction with the opening of "eMotion Pictures." For information on the San Francisco or Chicago exhibits, visit For the Chicago exhibit, contact Rosner Public Relations to arrange an interview at (312) 664-6100, (312) 404-5646 or

With more than 30,000 members, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons ( or ( is the premier not-for-profit organization that provides education programs for orthopaedic surgeons and allied health professionals, champions the interests of patients and advances the highest quality musculoskeletal health. Orthopaedic surgeons and the Academy are the authoritative sources of information for patients and the general public on musculoskeletal conditions, treatments and related issues. An advocate for improved patient care, the Academy is participating in the Bone and Joint Decade ( -- the global initiative in the years 2002-2011 -- to raise awareness of musculoskeletal health, stimulate research and improve people's quality of life.

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