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Michelle MacNaught

On October 15, 2010 Michelle MacNaught, then twenty and a stellar art student at SUNY Purchase, was diagnosed with Stage IV ovarian cancer. She poured all her energy into mature, beautiful, eloquent drawings, etchings, and woodblock prints. The works chronicle her struggle with the deadly disease. She died on November 20, 2011, days after the triumphal opening of her first solo show, at the Leo Koenig Gallery in New York City.

In Michelle's words -

"My work is an experience that I want to share with others. I hope that they get the same experience viewing my art as I do making it. For me, it’s making the art that is fun and exhilarating. The way I get to work with my hands and move materials around in order to create something that nobody has ever seen or experienced before. It’s fascinating! You get to play God in a sense, and you hope that the viewer does too. It’s as my professor always says, 'Sometimes you just have to rinse out your eyes,' and it is so true! What a wonder things become viewing with a new set of eyes."

"I’ve also been able to cope with my cancer diagnosis through my work. Rather than see a therapist, I talk about my emotions and struggles or whatever is going on in my head at that particular point through my work. This not only helps me sort out and ‘heal’ certain things that I am struggling with, it also becomes an outlet or channel for me to explain to others how I am handling the situation from a different perspective."

Leo Koenig Gallery, New York City, 2011

Fighting Ovarian Cancer with Art