The Biliary Tree
Internal art is the extraction, abstraction and expression of the beauty of the inner body with similes and metaphors that relate to the external world.
Nature and its processes have found a way to organize and survive with aesthetic efficiency. The branching patterns of trees and plants to transport food and water to the leaves and flowers bring splendor to the vistas of our surrounds. They provide a sense of awe, honesty, peace, and harmony.
“Trees in the Body” is an extensive collection of artistic similes of structures in the body that have an arborizing pattern with similar function and corresponding beauty. The artist brings an analogous sense of wonder, truthfulness, and serenity to his canvas. For example an MRI and MRCP (magnetic resonance cholangiopancreaticogram) of an obstructed biliary system is depicted as a bonsai tree. The use of color enables the artist to depict the tree through the seasons – bright colors of the spring, fresh green of the trees and blue color of the skies of summer, oranges and yellows of the fall, and white of a snowy winter. The tree in brightness brings day and in darkness brings night each producing a message, hidden or otherwise.
The asymmetric branching pattern of the tracheobronchial tree parallels the arborizing pattern in trees. “Ginkgo Tree” abstracts this pattern of the leaf from a reconstructed, 3D image of a CT scan. The arbor vitae, or tree of life reflects the shape of the white matter in the cerebellum.
The repeating and advancing fractal structure is noted in the tributaries of a river, in lightning and in the arterial and venous branching patterns. Fibonacci number series, the golden ratio of 1.618, have an aesthetically pleasing ratio, and is displayed in the petals of flowers, pine cones, sea shells, cauliflowers, and in ancient architecture such as the Egyptian pyramids. It is apparent in both external body proportions as well as inner structures such as the cochlear (inner ear) with logarithmic spiral formation, branching airways, and the double helix of DNA strands.
The use of color is used to personify the moods of the organs. For example blue for a feeling of depression, bright colors for an upbeat frame of mind, pink for romantic, red for hot. Eyes with a wink may be added to the organ to portray a common understanding between the organ and the viewer.
It is not all beauty. Disaster can strike the organs and the trees. A fractured tree trunk has a similar appearance to a fractured bone. Stellate or star shaped nodules and masses in the lung or breast are characteristic of cancer. The battle between the body and unwanted pathogens is fought daily by the policing system of the body. The release of pancreatic enzymes in acute pancreatitis is analogous to chemical warfare, leaving death and destruction in its path.
Time and cycles, youth, maturation aging and death have parallels in nature and the inner body. The innocence of the baby’s smile, and the cute appearance of a baby’s hand or foot, draw parallels internally. The exquisiteness of the prime physical maturation is seen in contrast to the pain of aging and degeneration. Death is inevitable and final for the individual, heralding a fresh cycle and power to a new generation.