tom wilkinson
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Meditating Brain


The Meditating Brain

Commissione by the NHS Foundation Trust n 2014 The Meditating Brain hangs in the main waiting room of the Royal Free London Hospital. The brief was to make a 2D artwork that referenced one of the hsopital's diagnostic tools. The artwork depicts a Perfusion Magnetic Resonance Image (Perfusion MRI) of a brain while in a state of deep meditation.  The scan was conducted under the supervision of Senior Radiologist Thomas Wilhelm and the subject was one of the radiology team. She, on attaining a state of deep meditation, indicated to the operator to take the picture. At that point a magnetic dye is injected into the blood stream. As hoped for the scan shows a reduction in activity in the parietal lobe (lower right hand region), the area of the brain responsible for the sense of orientation in time and space.

The project was on of the most rewarding experiences I've experienced as an artist. In my intiial search for a subject who could not only meditate while having a MRI, but have dye injected in their blood-steam as part of the process, lead me to the North London Budhist Center in Holloway Road wher I met Caroline R who agreed to be my subject. Although she didn't actually do it in the end, due to complicated hospital proceedure she did offer support and met with the Physcology team at RFH to discuss meditation as treatment at the hospital. The aforementioned Thomas Wilhelm and many of his colleagues and head of Department Brian Holloway, whom I'm very greattful to, became very interested in the project and truly supportive offering much of their time in the planning and providing the image.

It was my first experience of working in stained glass and I used a CAD programme under the kind tuition of Michael Flowers. The glass was cut by water-jet, an incredibly accurate sysytem and the only option, considering how small and complex some of the pieces were. The glass is joined using the copper-foil method and I thank Beverley Byron for her technical expertise.. The artwork was intitially inspired by close friend and brilliant stained glass artist Mark Wickham (opposite) now passed away. His came up with the idea to make a panel showing a brain-scan of his migraine. His brother Pete Wickham joined me in the opening celebration, shown here in this Ham & High article




The Meditating Brain, Royal Free Hospital

Mark Wickham 1955 - 1993

Mark's brother Pete and I at opening