Heidi Barkun'Tis but a flesh wound III, detail, 2008.
Photo: Loïc Pravaz, courtesy of the artist

Canadian artist Heidi Barkun engages with the subject matter of pain from the perspective of her lived experiences of chronic illness, surgical interventions, infertility, and invisible disability. Although she earned a B.Sc. in anatomy and cell biology before undertaking graduate studies in fine arts, the body is notably absent from her work; nevertheless, it remains central to her investigations. It is, rather, the recurrent motif of suture in her corpus — on textile, canvas, or paper — that evokes the fragility and resilience of the flesh, as it gets punctured, excised, and reassembled in procedures that are meant to recover health, but whose unacknowledged violence all too often results in monstrous or failed reassemblies.

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This article also appears in the issue 106 - Pain

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