Boo Beaumont, an artist known for her use of X‑rays and MRI machines, held her first major exhibition this spring since falling ill three years ago. Her experience gave her a poignant insight and deeply personal point of view into the medical equipment used in her art.
Beaumont spent ten years using medical scanning equipment to create award-winning pieces, including X-rays of plants, flowers and shells. After three years in bed with an illness that hurt her immune system, she’s back with an exhibition including some of her x-ray works and a film journeying through the insides of a flower.
“Having this exhibition is what’s giving me the link back to my art. I’m longing to go back to creating. Whether my work will change will be interesting to see,” She said.
Beaumont graduated from art school in 1974 and later specialized in close-up photography of flowers, inspired by artists such as Georgia O’Keeffe. in 2002, she delved into the use of medical imaging equipment. Her X-ray images have been displayed in the V&A and the Brazilian Museum of Art in Sao Paulo, and she was the first woman to have works hung in the Museum of Islamic Art in Qatar.
In 2012 she fell ill, and her long recovery process included being scanned in the machines she had come to know so well in her art. “I’ve always had claustrophobia, but when I went for the MRI scan I thought of the beautiful intricate detail it can record and that helped me immensely.”
The National Portrait Gallery has a set of 12 photographs from Beaumont’s “Remarkable Women” series, including portraits of former House of Commons Speaker Betty Boothroyd, the first female director general of MI5 Stella Rimington, and Royal Ballet founder Ninette de Valois.
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