Medical imaging remains unsettlingly mysterious for most laypeople, a visual language of great, sometimes fatal, import that is all but undecipherable. It forms the basis of Vesna Jovanovic’s Stay-at-Home Order, a series of seventy-four large drawings, made one a day during Chicago’s spring coronavirus lockdown. Jovanovic’s primary source is a social media app used by medical professionals that, throughout the pandemic, has been filled with images of troubled lungs and related doctor messaging. Rendered six times larger than the size of a smartphone display, in Vesna’s drippy inks and smudgy pencils intercut by the occasional brightly colored line of acrylic pen or white rectangle of gouache, the imagery becomes, if not exactly readable, at least recognizably filled with the accidental and the precise, the bodily and the alien, the tactile and the digital. Nowhere is this more visible than in those places where dark spots on lungs blur at their edges, morphing from terrifying signs of infection to human irises that stare directly out from the paper, imploring the radiologist, the schoolteacher, the politician, the receptionist to remember: amid all the bones and viscera, there’s a person in here, too.
—Lori Waxman 2021-02-09 10:20 AM