© 2018 by Doug Driediger.

"Date Night", Drawings from the Dialysis Ward, 2018

Collection of the Artist

Ink on paper, 8.5" x 11" each

Click on the selected painting for an enlarged view including title and details.

Click 'here' to see a preview from the opening night.

A growing collection of close to 50 drawings at the time of writing (select samples shown here), this curated series offers insight into the human spirit as displayed by my courageous wife Gayle, who has undergone regular dialysis treatments since February of 2018. Early in this routine we decided to reframe the hospital visits as ‘Date Nights’, and in this way have done our best to stay positive throughout this profound challenge.

 

Illustrating Gayle's time in the dialysis ward has made me uniquely aware of the power of art to inform people's impressions about sickness, suffering and care. When Gayle was first diagnosed with kidney failure almost a year ago, it seemed to me that what was happening to her (us) was so out of the ordinary, and so devastating, it needed to be documented. Since then—close to 100 hospital visits later—I have drawn Gayle in my sketchbook, over and over, from the required confines of an adjacent chair. Some drawings (an intimate view of Gayle's hands, or her shoes) catalogue the details of our time spent together in a straightforward yet poignant way. In contrast, other scenes reveal a specific kind of medical space that offers a very different psychological charge. The emotional acuity of each sketch, and the directness of process—pen to paper—give the drawings presence as windows into our experience with illness and the medical system. The resolve required to draw my partner directly, in indelible ink, in some ways also represents a small echo of the challenge Gayle faces at each treatment.

 

Sharing these drawings weekly with our friends and family has allowed Gayle and I to invite others gratefully into this journey with us. Our online community of support (hashtag #DateNight) is a source of strength and comfort for myself and my wife.