Local artist paints the inside, out

September 21, 2018
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Head, shoulders, knees and toes.

Brea Wike Gilchrist paints them all on canvas, just in a slightly different perspective than one might think.

By flipping, inverting and stylizing anatomical structures with natural landscapes, she works to bring a new lens to the body we all have.

“Everyone sees people on the outside and exterior, but I want everyone to be able to see the inside and interior outside of a medical perspective,” Wike Gilchrist said. “It’s really applicable to everyone.”

She said some viewers initially see anatomy as gruesome, gory and simply gross. She is working to change that by showing the beauty those bodily structures can have.

“It definitely sparks a conversation,” she said. “It’s sometimes frustrating when people say it’s morbid when that’s not my intention. Normally my end goal is to make it all more aesthetically pleasing, whether they recognize it right away as anatomical or not.”

She has been working on this anatomical art since 2012 in Grand Forks, North Dakota. Combining her access to medical atlases and anatomy classes with her landscape-rich home, she naturally found her art niche.

Now in Rochester while her husband starts a medical residency, her art has found a medical residency of its own.

“Having my art and subject matter be what it is, I’m hoping to tap into (the world of) Mayo,” she said.

Wike Gilchrist usually starts her pieces by finding a skeletal, muscular, nervous or even natural structure she wants to create. From there, she’ll change up the perspective and add her many layers.

But while her work can vary in size, price and style, she said she always goes back to the aim of showcasing the similarities and beauty we all have internally.

“This is almost like a human blueprint,” Wike Gilchrist said. “I really want to have this human form that a viewer with any age, race, or gender identification can go up and know it’s applicable to them. Anatomy doesn’t have to be simply gross anatomy in a book at the doctor’s office. It can be aesthetically pleasing.”

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