Matthew Wetschler is a physician, artist, and former professional athlete. In 2017 he broke his neck while body surfing near his home at Ocean Beach, leaving him paralyzed from the neck down. During his time in the water his heart stopped for nearly 10 minutes. “Once I awoke, I was unquestionably different in a way that was ineffable. My body knew something, had lived something, that my mind did not. I felt it, but cannot describe it.” Through his recovery, which included painting, he was able to retrain his body and recover much of his mobility. In the thick, deep strokes of his paintings one can sense a strength and energy pushing forward. His work explores our relationship with physical limits, edges, and the space beyond.
“Each piece begins with a movement or ritual, executed in repetition. I use positioning, stress, or duration to reach physical failure and then capture the result. The discomfort associated with exhaustion is overwhelming and my mind briefly silences. In these moments there is only motion and effort, and the body speaks unencumbered by language or logic.”
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Drawing from his experience as a physician prior to his injury, Dr. Matthew Wetschler tours nationally to renowned institutions such as Harvard, Duke, UNC, Stanford and Yale, as a guest lecturer speaking to the phenomenon of burnout, well-being, and personal optimization.