Cochran_ MahLeah Empowerment

MahLeah Cochran

Abstract Ponderings: Thoughts on Recovery by MahLeah Cochran

December 10, 2021 – January 14, 2022

Abstract Ponderings will be on display at the gallery's SEEN Studios (Studio #21 inside the Chromedge building at 289 W. Walnut Street, Columbus, OH, 43215). Attend an in-person opening reception for Abstract Ponderings on Friday, December 10, 6 – 10 p.m. during Franklinton Friday! Additional viewings are by appointment.

Artist Statement

When I paint, volumes of expressions emerge.
Light and darkness in their various forms, speak.
Lines and colors tell a story.
In this exhibition, they talk about recovery.
My recovery with mental illness.

It was a dark time in my life.
I was experiencing grief after the death of many loved ones. Late one morning, my eyes opened to a heaviness. I felt the most intense feeling, like a whirlwind, sucking out all life that was in me. I thought about getting up, but a barrage of painful thoughts marched through my mind. The syncopated beats proclaimed: “I’m a burden,” “They’d be better off without me,” and “Life is just not worth living.” Every thought blared louder than the one before it. A landslide of emotions engulfed me with sadness, anxiety, hopelessness, guilt, worthlessness, helplessness, and fear. They all slid down forcefully into my soul. I was trapped, chained, and surrounded by despair. My only solace became death, suicide.

This led my family to seek out professional help for me.
I received the dreadful diagnosis: Bipolar II depression. I could hardly believe it. I could not accept the diagnosis. Mainly the stigma. I didn’t want to be labeled crazy. The people I talked to about it said, “You are demon-possessed; you need to cast out that devil.” Others said, “Don’t be sayin’ you got Bipolar; you gotta say you’re healed in Jesus name.” This led to a crisis. But God, in His unfailing love and abundant grace, allowed me to heal emotionally from all the wounds.

I finally took medications and started to feel better.
I began to understand that this illness is physical, in the brain, and is very real. I wish the meds cured the disorder. They help the body to function better, but there is no cure. I learned that I am a person with a diagnosis. I am not my diagnosis. Yet, some say I am Bipolar. Not so! I am many things. I am a child of God. I am an Artist.

Four years ago, I encountered an effective way to navigate the road to recovery: abstract art. In this medium, I use the elements of art to convey the depths of emotions through the intuitive painting process. Art has had a curative effect in my life. I recently discovered that science suggests engaging with art enhances brain function – a win-win for me.

MahLeah Cochran was born in Columbus, Ohio. She received a BA degree from Hofstra University in Long Island, NY, and lived in New York City for many years. In the past two decades, she has traveled the world with humanitarian groups and organizations. Her experiences heavily influence her art and aid in her recovery.

Select Artworks

Please contact Fresh A.I.R. Gallery if interested in purchasing any of the pieces below. Artists receive 100% of the proceeds from sales of their work.

Cochran_ MahLeah Empowerment_web

Empowerment
30 x 30"
Acrylic on canvas
Black float frame
$1300

Grit_web

Fortitude
24 x 30"
Acrylic on canvas
Black frame
$1000

Endeavor_web

Endeavor
36 x 24"
Acrylic on canvas
Black frame
$900

MahLeah01

Lookup
20 x 16"
Acrylic on canvas
$350

MahLeah03

Inside Out
30 x 30"
Acrylic on canvas
$800

MahLeah02

Duality
24 x 12"
Acrylic on canvas
$200

MahLeah04

Hold On
30 x 24"
Acrylic on canvas
$300

MahLeah05

Imibala
20 x 16"
Acrylic on canvas
Black frame
$600

MahLeah06

Grit
30 x 30"
Acrylic on canvas
Black float frame
$1300

MahLeah07

Untitled
30 x 30"
Acrylic on canvas
Black float frame
$1000

MahLeah08

In the Wilderness
20 x 16"
Acrylic on canvas
Black mat and frame
$800

MahLeah09

Rising
12 x 16"
Acrylic on canvas
Black frame
$800

MahLeah11

Happenings
12 x 16"
Acrylic on canvas
Black frame
$600

MahLeah10

The Blues
16 x 12"
Acrylic on canvas
Black frame
$600

MahLeah12

The Battle
30 x 30"
Acrylic on canvas
Black float frame
$900

MahLeah13

Tenacity
30 x 24"
Acrylic on canvas
Black frame
$700

MahLeah14

Cry of the Beloved
20 x 16"
Acrylic on canvas
Black frame
$700

MahLeah16

Genesis
20 x 16"
Acrylic on canvas
Black frame
$400

MahLeah17

The Revealing
24 x 21"
Acrylic on canvas
Black frame
$700

MahLeah18

Elevate
30 x 24"
Acrylic on canvas
Black frame
$900

Merriment

Merriment
20 x 16"
Acrylic on canvas
White frame
$700

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