Arabella Proffer’s “Ephemeral Antidotes”

Arabella has a solo show opening Saturday with lots of new works, at Articulated Gallery in San Francisco. Her stoic & stylish portrait style has embraced  the psyche of ailing women from the Middle Ages. Arabella was diagnosed with cancer last year in one of her  legs and her frustration and pain led her to cope with it through her art. As a kind of therapy she researched all manner of antique medical techniques and equipment, coming up with “case studies’ – individual women complete with their own story about their botched surgeries or tortuous treatments. Delving into the barbaric medical practices of the past enabled Arabella to deal with her own modern day frustrations. 

“After having a section of my leg removed, I began researching medicine from the Middle Ages through the 18th century; this series was a good way for me to work out my anger and be even more thankful that what I’m going through is nothing compared to old remedies and techniques. My art and interests were in the way society lived in the past, but with emphasis on the defiant, glamorous, and eccentric — not daily strife. You could have been rich, important, or beautiful, but if sick, you would still receive brutal or worthless treatment.” – Quote thanks to Creep Machine

The opening reception  is from 8-11pm, January 7th and Arabella is trekking all the way from Cleveland to be present. 
Below is “Gretchen” with her sample biographic tale.


“An ambassador’s daughter with a passion for collecting, Gretchen’s menagerie was near complete when her father brought her the gift of a leopard cub from his travels. It was a sweet little thing, soft and playful, abiding to his mistress when she dressed it up in clothes meant for little boys. But, even the smallest of creatures will start to give in to their nature. It was thought that a flock of geese had spooked him during a game of fetch on the lawns. Gretchen was adamant the leopard knew not what he did, that his claws were bigger than his wits when he mauled her at the legs, dragging her before his final release. No potions, no humours, no herbs or witchcraft could save her. The legs would come off, and all one could do was pray. Pray for the surgeon, pray for the tools, and pray she did not die from enduring it all. Gretchen would never be same after that, lost to a world of darkness and time, languishing in bed, never speaking a word except a whisper to her pets.”

Arabella has a new book, The National Portrait Gallery of Kessa: The Art of Arabella Proffer” available here or you can pick one up at the gallery.

 She will also have a small series of modern day “Marys” in the show, which Eclectix plans to feature in the next update of the current Iconic issue. 

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