‘A Life Interrupted’ exhibit on display at Shanley House


The art exhibit “A Life Interrupted” is about dragons, yet there are no images of dragons in the beautifully rendered images. Artist Rebecca Zook notes, “Outside of childhood fairy tales, we face our own very real dragons … Pain, Sickness and Death are some of their names and they torment each of us differently. Real world dragons are immortal. ‘A Life Interrupted’ is a collection of my paintings that focus on the beauty that I see in the world around me and my writings – where I sort out the sometimes overwhelming emotions that come with dragons.”

Rebecca is no stranger to dragons – emotional abuse, her incurable and nearly fatal but treatable illness and, then, the sudden death of her soul mate. She acknowledges, however, that, “Beauty, Love and Knowledge … are also immortal …Beauty and language are my weapons of choice. Beauty to balance the ugliness and language to understand it.”

This unusual show is arranged in several segments: ME, ILLNESS, GRIEF and HOPE. Each segment includes blogs written to reveal and sort out emotions interposed with paintings of beauty to balance raw feelings.

ME reveals Rebecca’s inherent personality. She claims to be a tortoise, of the tortoise and the hare. Rebecca notes that if she were in a flock of birds, being shy and cautious rather than the more admired bold and fearless, she would be ever watchful, perceive danger first and warn the rest of the flock, saving their lives.

ME also points out her deep love for animals. She currently has 4 dogs, 5 cats and 3 parrots. Most were adopted or found and some had been abused. Surprisingly, all three species live happily together. One of the parrots even meows.

ME remembers when in 2003, she again took up fine art painting. That Christmas her husband gave her acrylic paints, brushes and canvas board. She is and was a graphic designer, but doubted her ability to paint. Cautiously, Rebecca’s confidence grew, she won awards and was asked to have solo shows.

In ILLNESS, one learns that Rebecca is equally left brained and right brained. Her husband described her by saying, “My wife creates paintings and reads science magazines.” The left brain was able to remain rational throughout the ordeal and navigate a way out of the maze even when it seemed there was no progress being made and no exit. (The only treatment is to have an infusion of an expensive blood plasma product every three weeks, forever.) This illness left her with impaired hearing. Her brain, philosophically reasoned, “At least it’s not my eyes.”

GRIEF. After extricating herself from an abusive six-year relationship and prior to the illness, she fell in love with Tom. Rebecca wrote, “He allowed me to be myself and encouraged me to paint again.” The shy Rebecca even proposed to him!

Grief and the Cosmic Joke. Universe: “Oh, look at Rebecca. Time to knock her back down.” Suddenly, she lost Tom in a motorcycle accident. Her last words to him were, “I love you too, sweetheart.” Rebecca is left to rebuild herself, once again.

Rebecca, having experienced true love and wanting to once again share her life with another, tip-toed into the dating scene…and got lucky. She says, “I found someone who didn’t try to navigate around my life, but instead did a cannonball right into the middle of it.” The first time he came to her house, he spent 10 minutes playing with her dogs while inadvertently ignoring her. Not a bad thing.

They found that their life philosophies match well; he is not afraid of her illness AND wasn’t overwhelmed by the number of animals.

In December, she and Ed married. They live happily.

Rebecca’s story is a vital part of this show; the beauty of her paintings created during this account, show strength and give perspective to handling dragons.

She adds, “The battle is timeless and if you have yet to face dragons or are a veteran of many battles, I hope what I have chosen to share inspires you, prepares you or aids in your understanding”.

“A Life Interrupted” is currently showing at the Shanley House, 224 N. Travis. This is a Don’t Miss.

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