Bennington Artist and Breast Cancer Survivor Opens Exhibit Jan. 16

2 January 2009
For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Kevin Robinson

BENNINGTON – A former educator turned painter and mixed-media artist, Viola Moriarty, will exhibit her latest collection of works, ExVoto Suscepto, Jan. 16 at Southwestern Vermont Regional Cancer Center. Moriarty, a cancer survivor, created the works that make up the exhibit to express her prayers of gratitude during and after cancer treatment. The Cancer Center will host a public opening with light refreshments on Jan. 16 from 4 to 7 p.m.

"All of the work is ultimately meant to hang in breast cancer centers," she explained. "It is not for sale, only for donation to those environments, to be company for the women and their families, for the people who care for us, and for the walls themselves, which cry out with and hold the energy of so many of our stories."

Diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007, Moriarty kept journals during her treatment at the Cancer Center. After she completed, treatment, she went back to that journal as a source for her painting and collage, a technique she learned from art therapist Beth Newman.

"As I deconstructed all those carefully kept journals, following the breadcrumbs back to the sites, the work allowed me to shake hands with my New Normal," Moriarty explained. "This collection contains my own struggle with getting medical care, fear of everything, privacy, and how to be beautiful with or without my body. Ultimately, the process has been a huge part of my own sense of well-being, of healing, of being in deeper relationship with the people in my life."

The exhibit has 14 stations consisting of poetry, print, mixed media, oil painting, watercolor, toys, collage, and photography. One of the centerpieces of the show is a painting that has never been seen publicly done for Moriarty by local artist, Nick Garder. The exhibit also includes the faces of several local people who helped guide Moriarty through her experience of diagnosis and treatment.

"There are photographs from Michael Kornelsen, of Denver, borrowed from his recent show 'To Life,' and there just might be some surprise comics by Anna Mo-Lev," she said."

Moriarty began painting in 2002 with the help and encouragement of a close friend, Stella Ehrich. Moriarty is a native of Denver, but has lived in Bennington for more than a decade. She is married to Jon Lev, the superintendent of the North Berkshire School Union. She has two adult daughters: Anna Moriarty Lev lives and works in Manhattan, and Phoebe Moriarty Lev is a student at the University of Oregon.

"This exhibit is dedicated to my mom, Ruby Colleen Lubischer, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1994," Moriarty said. "She is still kicking my tuckus on the morning walk when I visit her in Denver. I also hope this exhibit encourages women to get mammograms."

Southwestern Vermont Regional Cancer Center provides medical and radiation oncology and access to clinical trials. The cancer center is part of the family of services provided by Southwestern Vermont Health Care (SVHC). SVHC is a community not-for-profit that exists solely to serve the health care needs of the greater Bennington area.


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