By Judy Carmack Bross
The elation of opening night combined with the fascination of penetrating self-portraits chosen to reflect creativity and the bipolar brain marked INSIGHTS IV last week at the Zolla/Lieberman Gallery. The Ryan Licht Sang Foundation, founded by Joyce and Dusty Sang, had conducted a four-month nationally curated search for artists with bipolar disorder, and guests mingled with many of the artists as they explained their works.
Foundation Founders Dusty and Joyce Sang
Honorary Chair Abby O’Neil with Suzanne Rose, and Merle Gordon.
Abby O’Neil and Carroll Joynes served as honorary chairs and Genevieve Hills and Sarah Imberman were co-chairs of the sold-out opening night.
Joyce Sang summed up the evening for us:
“Dusty and I were so pleased on so many levels. First and foremost was the spreading of awareness and understanding about Bipolar Disorder and the creativity that often accompanies this illness. Nine of the artists, from all over the US, attended and some even brought their families. Our guests loved the individual “Cocktail Purses” filled with yummy bites they could take outside and be virus-safe.”
Marie Marty with a tasty cocktail purse.
Co-Chairs Sarah Imberman and Genevieve Hills
Co-Chair Sarah Imberman told us about the art on display:
“The art was meaningful because it was so self-reflective, authentic, real and vulnerable. Seeing how someone views himself or herself gives us a tunnel into their mind, which is quite powerful. I think self-portraits resonated with the artists because it nudged them to look inward and express who they are through their art and talent. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words, and this event proved this to be the case.”
Artist Charles Phillips with his son Alva and wife Kelly Phillips
“I was so touched by the fact that many of the artists flew in town to attend. You could see the artists smiling with their eyes behind their masks and the sense of pride in their work was palpable. One artist brought his son and it was so moving.
“The people who support the Ryan Licht Sang Bipolar Foundation are like a little family within a big city and it was so nice to reunite in person finally. I was so proud of the turnout at the gallery and how Covid friendly the event was. Seeing the artwork that these artists created blew me away – their talent and vulnerability is truly remarkable and is helping erase the stigma associated with mental illness.”
Co-Chair Genevieve Hills added:
“The Ryan Licht Sang Bipolar Foundation supports groundbreaking work through the Quest For The Test initiative by partnering with the nation’s top research universities and providing grants and awards to support the most strategic efforts in the area of Bipolar diagnoses. As someone who is deeply committed to supporting mental wellness, especially in a time when our communities need it more than ever, I believe it is critical to resource these innovations.
“My hope is that INSIGHTS would help visitors to experience a deeper understanding of the Bipolar brain. The Foundation is squarely focused on addressing and erasing the stigma associated with mental illness. The exhibition offers the unique opportunity to experience the artist’s bravery and honesty through the collection made up entirely of self-portraits. There is great humanity in both the artists’ willingness to share and the visitor’s willingness to take them as they are.”
Daniel Pichney (artist) and Carole Pichney
artist Fernando Ramirez, Robyn Jablonski
The Ryan Licht Sang Foundation plans to tour the four INSIGHTS collections in order to highlight the creativity that people with bipolar disorder can have, spread awareness and understanding, and highlight the work of the Foundation in its quest to change the course of Bipolar Disorder. Each artist, 20 per competition, was selected from hundreds of entries by a jury of art collectors, gallerists, and artists to receive a grant and their work is part of the Foundation’s permanent collection.
Margaret Trudeau will be a featured panelist, along with Dr. Karen Swartz of Johns Hopkins Medicine, at the 17th Anniversary Ryan Licht Sang Bipolar Foundation Chicago Early-Onset Bipolar Medical Briefing Luncheon on May 11, 2022.
Lane Imberman, Sarah Imberman, Hillary Levy, Terry Levy
Kate Sierzputowski and Grant Penfield Haugen
Gabriela Loeb, Olivia Adams, Victoria Loeb (artist)
|Amy Moulis and Courtney Kennedy
More information is available at www.rlsbf.org.