In her new and ongoing series, Neuro, Dina Cline grounds her practice in psychology and mental health, both in conception and process. This series of large-scale paintings is a general representation of the birth of ideas, portraying the precise moment that neurons are fired in the brain to generate new thought. For Dina, this body of work also has a deeply personal meaning as it expresses the artist’s unique relationship with the brain, specifically her experiences living with bipolar disorder. With the aim of removing the fear and stigma surrounding bipolar individuals, Dina creates visually arresting and layered works to show the pure creativity that can stem from rapidly generating thoughts. Neuro invites the viewer to step into the artist’s shoes for a brief moment to experience visually what she regularly encounters mentally.
Manic, the first work of the series, demonstrates the duality of Dina’s experience with bipolar disorder. The notion of a “manic” individual or episode has a strong negative implication, yet these rapid, unordered, and explosive thoughts are precisely the sparks of creativity. This work acts as a peak behind the curtain for the viewer, a view straight into Dina’s brain. The next work, Ideation, portrays the slow, gradual building of these sparks of ideas that can come in little wisps at a time but build to a fully formed concept. This idea is physically manifested in the colors and layers of paint that Dina slowly built-up. The luminosity in the work is also representative of the clarity that can come once disparate ideas combine. The final completed painting in the series, Intuition, speaks to the more difficult aspects of living with bipolar disorder. As sparks of ideas come through the mind, there is a constant need to evaluate if those thoughts are genuine, or merely a secondary reaction to something else. Should these impulses be followed or ignored? Is the brain self-sabotaging, or is this a veritable emotion or idea? Intuition speaks to the universal desire to understand ourselves more clearly, and to trust our guts.
As this series continues, Dina hopes to open the discussion on mental health, to give those individuals who suffer with emotional disorders the permission to accept themselves, and for those who don’t live with them, the understanding of what others experience.