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  • Recovery: Stitches and Scars
  • Sunny Spillane

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Figure 1.

Sunny Spillane, 2010, Recovery: Stitches and Scars [Acrylic on linen with holes and thread. 20 × 24 in.].

[End Page 56]

I pursued this a/r/tographic inquiry in my multiple, intersecting roles as a participating artist, teacher, and researcher developing an art education curriculum for the 2011 Art and Addiction exhibition at Florida State University Museum of Fine Arts. A/r/tography provided a framework for me to inhabit these identities as they informed, contradicted, and moved in and through one another. As an artist, I worked through the piece as a way of exploring and articulating the ongoing emotional experience of rebuilding my relationship with an important person in my life who is recovering from drug addiction. This visual and material inquiry helped me envision a personally meaningful art education curriculum about addiction that could counter both the glorification of drug abuse and the clichéd anti-drug messages found in popular media. My inquiry articulated recovery as a process that proceeds in fits and starts, does not always progress smoothly, and involves periods of uncertainty and pain. Abstraction, a foundation of my artistic practice, allowed me to reveal deeply personal emotional experiences while concealing the gory details and leaving room for the personal narratives and individual meanings that viewers bring to it. This a/r/tographic inquiry demonstrated the utility of art in exploring sensitive, complex, and overwhelming ideas and emotions, while preserving the privacy and dignity of all involved. [End Page 57]

Sunny Spillane
Florida State University


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pp. 56-57
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