MATERIA MEDICA, 2013
16 x 7 in.

Before modern day medicine, curing the diseases of the body were based on philosophical and abstract reasoning. Materia medica is an exploration of the relationship between the human body and nature, specifically within Chinese herbology. The practice of herbology today, has become an international and widespread phenomenon. There is a return to the ‘old medicine’ that employs natural remedies to maintain the body’s state of health and balance. This newly disseminated ancient convention of healing, has re-established the formation of a relationship between nature and us, in an age where I feel we are disconnected from the essence of the natural world.

 

Each of these images depicts a particular recipe (that in practice is brewed into a tea) and functions as a treatment for a specific ailment. By bringing these objects back into a two-dimensional plane, I wanted to reference the traditional aesthetic of Chinese paintings and also harmonize that with the photographic medium.

As an artist that is Chinese yet born as a Canadian, the development of Materia medica and the construction of these two-dimensional still lives has become an investigation of my own cultural heritage from a Westerner’s perspective.  I have come to realize that I am as much familiar as I am unfamiliar with my own cultural heritage.


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天王补心丹 / Recipe I


Treats female genitalia - promotes blood production, calms the mind and helps establish a state of contentment.

麻黃杏仁甘草石膏汤 / Recipe II


For lung infections - cools the body, removes excess heat and stops coughing.

百合固金汤 / Recipe III


For asthma - helps promote the effectiveness of the kidney, nourishes the lungs, stops coughing, and dispels phlegm.

复方罗布麻降压 / Recipe IV


Reduces blood pressure.

桑菊饮 / Recipe V


For the flu or common cold - helps cool excessive heat of the body and helps the production of saliva.

鼻敏感 / Recipe VI


For sinus allergies - dispels wind from the body and excess heat, removes corruption and eliminates obstruction within the body.

肾气丸 / Recipe VII


Treats male genitalia and heals the kidney.

血府逐瘀汤 / Recipe VIII


For blood circulation - encourages the circulation of blood and Qi (flow of 'air' in the body), disperses bad blood and relieves pain.

消冈散 / Recipe IX

For eczema - dispels wind from the body, generates new blood, removes excessive heat and moisture from the body.

八珍汤 / Recipe X


For energy/blood production - promotes Qi (flow of 'air' in the body) and encourages production of new blood.