VA MONTORSE BOOK
Montrose VA 1958 – 1988, 11 x 14
58 color pencil drawings, 169 pencil sketches, hand written text
In 1958, David took a job as an orderly in the psychiatric ward at the Veterans Administration Medical Hospital in Montrose, New York. For the next 30 years, he worked with doctors and nurses in care of patients whose damage resulted from World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. This experience provided him with his defining body of work.
“Looking at my drawing and painting of Montrose VA years after I had done them I had the idea that maybe they would make a book. Any subject is book material apparently; war, high society and low, concentration camps, starvation, life and death, insanity. The patients at Montrose are not all insane or incompetent but do have emotional, neurological, psychiatric problems. Sometimes short and acute, sometimes long term, permanent.
Patient’s rights are related to living with a group on open or closed wards and many factors such as medication and routine and lack of freedom are the rule. The knowledge I have of the hospital as a whole is from observation, anecdote, subjective experience and aesthetic and classes given by nursing education. There was much employee turnover and like any job anxiety, only more.” DB
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