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This project was successfully funded on November 3, 2012

In My Nature: Art and Science/Painting and Parkinsons

by Darra Keeton


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My project, In My Nature consisting of three major parts, has been years in the making.  Now is the time all segments can come together, however I need your help to make it happen. 

The first segment is an exhibition of my work in honor of my retirement after 18 years of teaching at Rice University in Houston, TX. This show opens mid-February, 2013 and includes full-time artists who were once my students.  (Rice is also funding a Drawing scholarship in my name.) A small brochure or full catalog will represent both shows. 

In addition, there will be a film documenting the impact Parkinson’s disease has had on my life and art for the past 10 years.  Copies of the film and brochure will be sent to alternative arts spaces and PD organizations to be shown at conferences, support groups and fund raisers.  I will lecture and lead discussion groups for both PD and art audiences in Houston.

The show will include paintings, drawings, and photographs important to my development as well as my newest work.  My work has been acquired by museums in the US as well as numerous collectors all over the world.  In effect my work has disappeared into people’s living rooms.  A complete catalog would pull together the dispersed work and provide a lasting overview of a full body of work. 

The paintings I have made embody (but don’t illustrate) transformation and regeneration expressed through the forces of nature which are hidden, but familiar to us all.  Think of a quiet fall walk in the woods, with millions of fierce metamorphoses churning underfoot, or the imperceptible but relentless destructions in our bodies we dread. 

The recent “Decade of the Brain” produced an explosion of scientific studies of brain mechanics. These inquires searched for answers to the questions: What is the biology of a memory?  What does an emotion look like? Exactly what is consciousness?  I especially respond to the poetic aspect of these studies.

Although I believe that I have many more years of work ahead, despite the serious limitations of Parkinson’s, I feel a sense of urgency to complete these goals now.  This moment is a chance to also offer encouragement to others struggling against great odds.  

With the minimum amount raised I can oversee the two exhibitions, the completion of the film, the printing of a brochure, give the lectures and distribute the film and brochure to Parkinson's organizations and not-for profit art spaces across the country.  With the maximum amount I can have a complete catalog published which will put my work in context and clarify my contribution to the contemporary art dialogue.

I hope you can help me do this now.  Any support you can offer is truly appreciated.

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    • October 12, 2012 Heather Sparks Artist

      I have a project called within my nature was completed in 2009 and has been shown in a number of galleries and museums. I'd like to know the genesis of your title "in my nature".