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The 2021 Mad Scientists’ Transatlantic Mandala Pen Pal Diary

November 4, 2022 @ 6:00 pm - November 20, 2022 @ 6:00 pm

The 2021 Mad Scientists’ Transatlantic Mandala Pen Pal Diary is an exhibit featuring 365 drawings and 12 enlarged mandalas enriched with conversation between Dr. Rainbows and Dr. Sunshine. The exhibit is a work in progress and mockup for publishing the entire “Mad Scientists’ 2021 Transatlantic Mandala Diary” as a graphic ‘novel’.
On view in Guichelaar Gallery at Tube Factory artspace.
Marilyn Gatin, PhD (Dr Rainbows) writes from Indy:
“My practice is to select a theme for each upcoming year – for 2021 I chose STRUCTURE because I felt so unmoored, angry, and anxious.
Following Carl Jung’s example, I decided to draw a ‘mandala’ every day. Each circular drawing would express my current emotional state – a visual journal, diary, meditation – and provide the structure I needed to manage my mental health.
Other than a few sketches for sculptural pieces, drawing was a new challenge, a challenge I could control in an out-of-control world. I love the right kind of challenge.
Sharing my mandalas was an important aspect of the structure I needed to hold me in place. Everyone was suffering in a COVID-disrupted world, though we had hope that 2021 would be better and everything would be back to normal soon. I thought my meditative drawings would at least provide a distraction to others and allow me to contribute something positive to my friends and the wider world of social media every day.
Liisa is my dear friend since we first worked together in Virginia – a gregarious wonderful light in any room. Our bond was formed during our science work together and is cemented by art. I knew being locked down in Berlin was going to be an extra challenge for her, but I also knew she would rise to the challenge like she always had before.
Liisa kept me engaged in the process – having a daily, hours long, in-process conversation about the drawing, about the world, about the company we both worked for, about our intimate lives – I jokingly call her my German talk therapist. Having a drawing coach and deep thinker in a different time zone was crucial to me finishing the project. 2021 cemented our already concrete friendship.
What a year!
Dr Rainbows
Liisa Eisenlohr, PhD (Dr Sunshine) writes from Berlin:
Having moved to Berlin during the pandemic with “work from home” conditions imposed by my employer, there was no opportunity for me to build a social network. Usually, my only in-person social interaction for the week was the brief conversation I had with the masked cashier seated behind a Plexiglas shield when I ventured out to buy groceries. Talk about a grim time…
The daily texts with my dear friend and fellow mad scientist, Marilyn – sometimes deep, occasionally irritated, often hilarious, and always lively –helped me maintain my sanity throughout 2021. Receiving the mandala-of-the-day was a highly anticipated little surprise and broke up my everyday tedium. Our conversation records the anger, solitude, and despair we experienced during the pandemic, but also documents the comfort, support, and camaraderie we shared with one another during the Year of Mandalas.
Dr. Sunshine”


November 4, 2022 @ 6:00 pm
November 20, 2022 @ 6:00 pm


Tube Factory artspace
1125 Cruft St.
Indianapolis, IN 46203 United States
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