ELLIOT W. JOHNSON

The Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania
Last Modified: May 3, 2002

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Placebo #2 oil 35 x 58 inches 1995

Construction machines, metaphors for organized medicine, are juxtaposed with the interior body, specifically the colon. Here, the machines are digging holes into the floor of the organ, but not dealing with the real problem, which is on the walls.


Placebo for Intestines intestines, glass, transparency 21 x 7 x 2 inches 1995


When I was around eight or nine years old, I experienced severe abdominal pains. After countless tests the doctors finally discovered pre-cancerous lesions in my large intestines, along with a spastic colon/colitis. The treatment was pain relievers and over-the-counter fiber supplements.

About 10 years ago, I went to a nutritionist, who helped me discover that my lesions were worse after years of prescribed antibiotics. Thanks to herbs, minerals, vitamins, and a special diet, my more serious problems are in remission, and I feel like a different person.

I have developed a sort of discontent with organized medicine and the doctors who have been so apathetic toward me and my problems. As a means of dealing with these issues, for myself and for other who have found themselves in similar predicaments, my artwork has proved extremely therapeutic.