Kikki Smith’s “Untitled (Cross section of a head)”

The MRI has become a staple of modern medical imaging. With the ability to look inside the mind, doctors can accurately provide medical diagnosis and follow up procedures. However, American artist Kiki Smith drew inspiration for her anatomical works from the famed 1858 medical textbook “Gray’s Anatomy,” from which the hit ABC television show derives its name. Contrasting both the gory anatomical illustrations of the textbook and the detailed imaging of modern technology, this two-layered rubber print provides a simplified yet distorted view of the brain.

The two print colors, red and blue, parallel the medical representations of veins and arteries found in anatomy textbooks. The prints’ offset placement creates a layering effect that affords the viewer a perception of movement, as if one is moving through the levels of the mind. These differences in color and placement of the stamps create a dynamic perspective of what we’re made of. In this way, Smith allows us to explore inside the mind, creating an appreciation for the unglorified view of what lies inside us all.