News Release

Real Life in Art

Art is very personal. It is the artist’s expression of her ideas, beliefs, emotions, and— remarkably, in the art of Esther Holwerda ’06—her vital signs.
Fittingly titled Vital Signs, Holwerda’s series of paintings include actual emergency room records from her stay in the hospital when she was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder in 2006, her senior year at Trinity as an art studio major.

After her diagnosis, Holwerda experienced a period of “artistic paralysis” but eventually began to paint again.

“As I painted, I worked through my experience,” she said. In the process of painting, she built up layers of paint then wiped them off, which, she explained, “parallels real life, how we are always adding and taking away.”

Recently exhibited in the psychology department, Vital Signs recognizes the need to embrace the process of grief, acceptance, and awareness.

“The exhibit highlights much of what the discipline of psychology addresses in our efforts to recognize, reach out, and support persons in the daily struggles of life,” said Dr. Michael DeVries, professor of psychology. “Esther's work speaks to our sufferings and hopes as human beings in a broken world. Both faculty and students in the psychology department will be encouraged by the presence of these ‘Vital Signs’ as we navigate the narrow hallway leading to our offices and the narrow hallways of our lives.”

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