©Cat Gwynn, Breathe
And the world cannot be discovered by a journey of miles,
no matter how long,
but only by a spiritual journey,
a journey of one inch,
very arduous and humbling and joyful,
by which we arrive at the ground at our feet,
and learn to be at home.
— Wendell Berry
©Cat Gwynn, Vacancy
©Cat Gwynn, Sometimes the Sun Pretends to be a Ball Resting in the Grass
In 2013 I found a sizable lump in my right breast. Shortly after, I was diagnosed with Triple Negative breast cancer—a disease long feared. My mother had succumbed to breast cancer after a five-year battle. Now it was my turn to live with it. This meant sitting with mortality, difficult side effects, and every other uncertainty thrown my way. As my treatment protocol intensified, my immune system became more compromised, requiring limited exposure to the world around me. So, I mapped it out: my day-to-day existence was now reduced to about a 10-mile radius.
©Cat Gwynn, I See You
Surrendering to this confined reality, I decided to engage in a daily ritual of seeking out images with my iPhone that would connect me to the immediacy of life. There was no filtering of what I found, only genuine curiosity to see things as they were and how I chose to frame them. Every detail and each day mattered, all inspiration for mindful expression.
©Cat Gwynn, Drought
©Cat Gwynn, Clouds in My Coffee
I didn’t set out to make an art project about my experience with cancer, but over time realized my “seeing” practice was a conceptual way to show my quest for well-being and willingness to uncover overlooked aspects of the world and myself. By being present with truth, I opened myself up to healing and reclaiming life in the most profound way.