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Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell

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Carole Trottere
School of Medicine
Phone: (516) 463-7585
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Date: Oct 17, 2011

Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine Presents Art Exhibit by Renowned Cardiothoracic Surgeon-Artist

"The Art of Medicine: Empirical, Intuitive or Both?" showcases 58 works by Dr. Paul Kolker

A medical school may seem like an unlikely location for an art exhibit, but to artist Dr. Paul Kolker, a cardiothoracic surgeon and Hofstra Law School graduate, the Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine provides the ideal setting. The educational environment at the School of Medicine meshes perfectly with Dr. Kolker’s intention--creating the idea of how art and medicine are intrinsically linked.

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“The Art of Medicine: Empirical, Intuitive or Both?” is now on exhibit through 2012 at the School of Medicine, located at 500 Hofstra University on the north side of campus. The exhibition was produced by Studio601 with its staff artists Jeff Kessel, Vanessa Juriga, Becca Baldwin and Executive Director John Steele, who also curated the show. The 58 works were selected from the artist’s vast collection of paintings and light sculptures because of their relationship to the world of medicine and healthcare. 

Kolker, who lives in Old Westbury, is lending the exhibit to the School of Medicine where he hopes it will inspire students to see the interconnective nature between art and medicine.

“This exhibition of Dr. Kolker’s work will provide our medical students with a unique environment that can speak to them on many levels,” said Dean Smith. “We are extremely fortunate to have this opportunity to exhibit these works in our new facility.” 

Kolker says: “You will find that how you look at the works exhibited at The School of Medicine, and what each says to you, requires the same empirical and intuitive skill sets used by doctors in examining and diagnosing their patients. Therefore, to hone their skills, why not immerse medical students in an ocean of the arts in addition to the sciences?"

Kolker states that his recent works have a central focus on “the digital age we are living in” and has relevance to the graphic and pixilated world of contemporary culture, media and information transfer, as we view TV, computers and cell phone screens. He attributes his process-laden and repetitive patterning of minimal shapes and forms in his works, with homage, to Benoit Mandelbrot’s fractal geometry.

The exhibition at the School of Medicine includes Let There Be Light, a 15-foot-high-mirror and LED light optical sculpture, which the artist calls a fractal box; a series of historic moments in healthcare history titled “Go Gesundheit!”, as well as numerous works of fractal geometric shapes and patterns. (For more details on the works, see below)

The relationship between art, medicine, healthcare and healing is also embraced by the Mayo Clinic which displays art in its facilities as an important part of the healing environment. The Journal of the American Medical Association also uses art to illustrate the front cover of that weekly journal.

Dr. Kolker is a New York City-based artist with doctorate degrees in medicine and law. He is Emeritus Chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery at North Shore-LIJ Glen Cove Hospital. He began his career of painting and sculpture in the 1960’s, illustrating many of his peer review medical journal articles and life casting anatomical models.

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