“Our Hands” Paintings by Michele Villa-Castillo exhibited @ Miner

University of Rochester’s Edward G. Miner Library hosts an exhibit depicting the shared experience of medical students. The physical work of hands is expressed in addition to their emotional context. Every painting is inspired by true experiences.

2 students Rochester, NY – March 8, 2014 –  The people who work with third-year medical student, Michele Villa-Castillo, all say pretty much the same thing when they first see the corridor filled with large, bright canvases. “How did you find the time?”

Everyone knows how demanding, challenging, and exhausting a medical student’s schedule can be. Somehow, in stolen minutes, Michele managed to create a striking, thought-provoking, inspiring collection of ten canvases with corresponding didactics. Next to each painting, Michele describes the meaning behind the image, and also provides a “behind-the-scenes” progression of smaller images, allowing the viewer a unique inside experience, seeing the evolution of the canvas from concept to fruition, as it coalesces in the artist’s mind.

As most artists realize early in their careers, hands are difficult to capture accurately, let alone expressively. Michele finds hands a welcoming, fascinating challenge. “Hands not only carry our age, but also our communal and individual histories. Our hands make us human: their work and form convey our experiences and emotions. In my paintings, I aim to capture the beauty of hands by exaggerating color and proportion… My hope is that such immediacy recreates the sense of urgency and vitality we feel when we care for patients—and ourselves—during our medical training.”

Born in Wisconsin, Michele now calls Texas her home. She did her undergraduate work at University of Rochester. Both parents are from Colombia, South America.

Michele dedicates her artistic talent to her grandmother, who is a painter in Colombia. Michele has been drawing “since I can remember” and is fortunate to have parents who recognized and encouraged her artistic interest. It was during medical school anatomy class that Michele developed a particular passion and appreciation for hand anatomy and became inspired to focus on painting hands.  “As my career continues, I hope to incorporate my love for art with my passion for medicine because both are a part of who I am.”

“Our Hands” will be on display through April 2015. Miner Library is open to visitors Monday-Friday, 7:30 am – 8 pm; Saturday-Sunday, 10 am – 8 pm. Call 585.275.3361 for holiday hours.

Posted by Susan Andersen

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