Corrine Lightweaver, a local artist who shows her work at VALISE Gallery, has authored a new art book about the healing properties of arts as well as her own mental health journey.
“The Psyche’s Gifts: Art, Art Making and the Journey from Mental Illness to Mental Health,” documents Lightweaver’s personal experience of living with mental illness, using the medium of paper collage.
Having lived with depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder for more than a quarter-century, Lightweaver said she has learned coping mechanisms — including art —that keep mental illness at bay for most of the time.
The 38 color illustrations in the book explore and depict her own experience, but Lightweaver said the book is intended to resonate with others as well.
“Mental wellness is not a destination but rather a strong yet fragile state of being,” she said. “I hope my work illustrates the experience of others with mental illness so that they don’t feel so alone.”
She added that she also hopes her particular experience adds to a better understanding of mental illness. Through her artwork, she said, she aims to spark personal and public conversations about mental illness, reduce stigma, and encourage those who suffer to find treatment.
The book has been praised by other authors and those in the mental health field.
“Corinne Lightweaver’s intelligent work is funny and vicious,” said Ted Meyer, an artist, curator, patient advocate and the founder of ArtandMed. “These deeply personal collaged images urge the viewer to dive in deeper to find layers of meaning.
The book is Lighthouse’s second to take on the subject of the healing properties of art. Her artistic journey began in painting, with wildlife as her favorite subject, and also included forays into other media, such as ceramics. A diagnosis of breast cancer led her to discover collage and assemblage — an apt metaphor for piecing her life and body together again, leading to the body of work published in her first book, “In the Breast of Health: Healing from Cancer through Art.”
“The Psyche’s Gifts” can be purchased on Amazon.