“Purple Microdot, Yellow Sunshine” at MCA 

"Seductive" is the word multi-media artist Thomas Everett Green uses to describe the visual triggers of addiction. "It's like you just quit smoking," he says, "and you see this sexy person who's smoking a cigarette and exhaling the smoke really slowly. And suddenly you really want a cigarette." Green's recent work may be colorful, slick, and soothing to look at, but it's inspired by addiction and disease.

"I started thinking about addiction as disease, and that's when I started looking into microscopic imaging," says Green, whose show "Purple Microdot, Yellow Sunshine" opened in the Memphis College of Art's Rust Hall Alumni gallery last week and runs through December 7th. "That's how I ended up with this drive to make circular paintings based off of microscopic imaging," he explains.

click to enlarge One pill makes you small.
  • One pill makes you small.

Green's process has evolved over the past four years. At first, he was only making round, microscope-inspired paintings. Then he started animating his paintings and projecting them in controlled environments with original music. Then he began to install paintings in clusters or constellations reminiscent of mold or bacteria. Green describes "Purple Microdot, Yellow Sunshine," which was named for different kinds of LSD, as a "quiet, peaceful show," featuring paintings only. "Some of them are very large," he says. "So there's a lot to look at."

Green's work has been collected by hospitals like Le Bonheur, the East Tennessee Children's Hospital, and the West Cancer Center, increasing the artist's interest in the relationship between art and health. "A lot of hospitals are taking TVs out of their waiting rooms because there can be a lot of negativity there," he says. "They're replacing them with art, because art helps to relieve anxiety and stress."

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