Matthew Wetschler is a physician, artist, and former professional athlete. In 2017 he suffered a spinal cord injury while body surfing near his home at Ocean Beach, leaving him paralyzed from the next down. During the event he drowned and his heart stopped for approximately 10 minutes. “Once I awoke, I was unquestionably different in a way that was ineffable. My body knows something, has lived something, that my mind has not. I feel it but I cannot describe it.” Through his 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.”
Prior to his injury, drawing from his experience as a physician, Dr. Matthew Wetschler toured 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.