Mark Gilbert's doctoral study, The Experience of Portraiture in a Clinical Setting (EPICS), sought to explore the nature and shared experiences of artistic interactions within professional artist/sitter relationships with selected patients attending the Head and Neck Cancer Clinic at UNMC. This study’s qualitative methodological approach used not only arts-based research methods but also narrative inquiry and reflexivity.
The inherent ambiguities of art make it a suitable vehicle for analysis, interpretation, inference, imagination and intuition. EPICS recognized that non-discursive methods (e.g., pictures, music, dance, poetry, etc.) can be forms of research and that these modes of representation, generated from aesthetic considerations, have the potential to create statements and insights that cannot be expressed, documented or shared in other forms. Through EPICS, both artist/researcher and sitters/participants were able to embrace what was threatening with what was reassuring, what was painful with what was pleasant, what was isolating with what was social, what was destructive with what was constructive, what was damaging with what was healing. Past, present and future, silence and dialogue, listening and questioning, reflecting and experiencing, analyzing and imagining all converged into the resultant narratives of EPICS.
EPICS espoused the research potential of the arts to discover unique findings and personal truths. The study has ongoing implications in the field of medicine, as not only a research and teaching model, but also a therapeutic intervention.

The pictures remain together as a collection and are not for sale. The collection is, however, available for exhibition. For inquiries, please contact Mark.

All aspects of the study were approved by the UNMC Institutional Review Board. All subjects have given their informed consent for the study and the subsequent exhibition of artwork.
Judy  Pastel on Paper
Jim  Pastel on Paper
William  Pastel on Paper
Lisa  Pastel on Paper