Cheri Lee Charlton
Cheri Lee Charlton is a Chicago-based artist and Assistant Professor of Illustration at Columbia College in Chicago. Charlton intends to use the IMSS residency as a chance to explore the history of medicine through the lens of misdiagnosing and failing women. She will use primary sources and collections materials to create a new body of work, culminating in a solo exhibition at the Museum in 2024.
“Woman’s bodies have long been considered alien and other in the history of medicine. Even today, a woman’s ownership over her body and what she can do to it and with it is being threatened. Women’s bodies have long been controlled by outside institutions rooted in unscientific attitudes based in religion and morality.
The denial of scientific facts, racism, classism, sexist attitudes, and the low value society has placed on women’s voices have made for terrifyingly common medical treatments and stories throughout history. Especially the marginalized voices of queer women and women of color.
My intention is to create illustrations that possess both beauty and stark honesty. At first glance, the images may resemble those found in a vintage fairy tale book, but upon closer inspection, they reveal the truths and horrors of the history of medical care for women.”Cheri Lee Charlton, 2023
About the Artist:
Cheri Lee Charlton (She/Her) serves as an Assistant Professor of Design within the Illustration Program at Columbia College Chicago. She is a working illustrator and muralist, with a client list that includes The Sister Cities of Chicago, The American Consulate in Casablanca, BLICK Art Materials, The Girl Scouts of America, The Audubon Society, and the Chicago Fire Soccer Club. She has an MFA in painting from Ohio University and has worked in art education for over 15 years. She is committed to nurturing art education through her community projects and fostering avenues for emerging artists, particularly in the realms of mural creation and illustration. The content of her work focuses on whimsical depictions of children, nature, animals, themes of environmental stewardship, and female empowerment. She has been on the Chicago Public Art Prequalified List since 2020 through the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE).
About the Residency Program: As artistic practice occupies an increasingly pluralistic field, The International Museum of Surgical Science believes that artists are uniquely equipped to extrapolate on Museum collections in innovative ways and introduce novel perspectives to the institutional depiction of medical history. The IMSS Artist Residency Program provides working artists with:
- Access to the Museum’s extensive collections and archive
- Visibility on the Museum’s website and social media channels
- A month-long capstone Solo Exhibition (or equivalent presentation) at the Museum
This project is partially supported by a CityArts Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events.
The International Museum of Surgical Science acknowledges support from the Illinois Arts Council Agency.