Statement by Joe Wilder
“Above all a physician is a healer and a member of a noble profession. A surgeon like an ancient priest operates on a helpless unconscious patient and must never lose sight of this God-given responsibility.
Those of us who witness the everyday drama in the hospital are privy to the nucleus of true human behavior. All we need do is look and care. If I am lucky, as long as I live I shall help any man, woman, child, friend or stranger who flatters me by seeking my help. My heart is lifted when I know that a few of my words has reduced the suffering of a frightened person.
In the process of doctoring, almost every day I experienced great joy as with a few words I could turn a frightened patient or relative into a more peaceful individual and make him or her the most important person in my life. I have tried to capture in my paintings forty-five years of treating thousands of patients around the clock.
My physician paintings depict a very condensed and enriched focal world in which human beings are tossed together, all sharing a common denominator, a diseased or damaged body, as human dignity finally prevails. As I stop to examine my enormous experience I see it as the greatest treasure of my adulthood for it continuously renews my faith in the human condition.
In my paintings I encapsulated a half a century as a committed doctor, highlighting the powerful forces and actions which take place daily in a major hospital setting. I rescheduled my life and in the process found a way to paint every day. I was consumed by painting as I snatched an hour here and there.
Although hospitals have a macabre quality they remain beacons of hope for the afflicted and suffering, but I see another side and this is what my paintings depict. I have envisioned such richness and giving where paragons of kindness and love heal. A hospital after all has no equal as a center to alleviate suffering. The countless patients from all walks of life taught me about the beauty of the human spirit.
These last ten years since I left medicine have been paradise for me as at long last I can paint whenever and for as long as I want. I look upon the world around me as my free province. This has to be one of the great joys of creativity, for creativity need not have boundaries and parameters. All of nature, all objects, and all creatures great and small are mine for the painting, free to be painted when and how it suits me. They all beg to be painted and if I am fortunate I shall paint them all.”
Joe Wilder, M.D., F.A.C.S.