Brains, Hearts and Stomachs:
The Emotional Centres Become ‘Neat and Genteel’ Wallpaper

My own experience tells me that emotional processing is done in 3 places. The brain, in my case the least in touch, works to rationalize, calm and problem solve. The heart aches in empathy. The stomach, the overachiever on emotional matters for me, works and reworks worries. I am assuming that people are similar in this way, though their main emotional centre will differ.

Why wallpaper? In the book Behind Closed Doors: At Home in Georgian England by Amanda Vickery (Yale University Press, 2009) there is a whole chapter devoted to the wallpaper of the late 1700s. Choosing the right wallpaper was important not only to create a pleasant room, but also to convey the status, sense of fashion and good taste of the owners. First and foremost was the desire to have a wallpaper that was ‘neat and genteel.’ That is, decent, wholesome, clean, respectable, using regular forms well executed, graceful but unpretentious, and “cleverly put together” (pp 178,181).

These words gave me the vehicle and a challenge: create a repeatable and connecting pattern using brains, hearts and stomachs in a way that is aesthetically pleasing. More things happened as these patterns became paintings, but for the most part, all the layers involve an element of repeatability, hopefully, put together cleverly.

Rhonda Harder Epp
2010