About Me:  Artist's Statement

Even if you hate it; even if you believe it's your enemy, art will obstruct your daily life. In it you face your reflection—sometimes the unpretty part, the one you'd shun without looking.

But writers, painters, and composers distill their hearts and intelligences into work. It matters to them; that's why it arrests you. Maddeningly sometimes, but inevitably, art stops me cold.

Art is long and life is brief, yet my days still pass in indifferent, ordinary pursuits from which mystery has routinely been wrung.

Why think of art as the opposite of life, as illusory, unreal and bloodless? It's in artworks that I find the most concentrated, excellent experience.

Art time is like hours swimming in strong and supportive currents, where the daily becomes the archetypal, the random reveals aesthetic order, and commonplaces accumulate to show themselves as the basis for ethics or metaphysics. Art not only condenses and refines life. It merges my own experiences with a timeless world of other peoples. It infiltrates theirs with mine.

Any time I spend making art—thinking, writing, drawing, penning criticism—redeems all the miles on the road in the car, the waits in lines, tedium in stores, and attendance upon irksome social duties. All these nuisances are made valuable, seen as the found materials that create art's prismatic reality.


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Upper Hand Press, LLC. Publisher. Independent literary press founded in 2014. http://upperhandpress.com


  • A Pound of Flesh. Nonfiction work in process.
  • She Can Find Her Way: Women Travelers at Their Best, Editor, 2017. Four-volume anthology of essays by women who have traveled solo and encountered trouble on the road.
  • Sounding Our Depths: The Music of Morgan Powell,2014. Criticism with 72-minute CD.


Starr Review, (http://starr-review.blogspot.com). Blog review of contemporary fine art and music, 2011-2016. Finalist, Creative Capital/Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grants for 2012.


These examples reflect my engagement with art in a few capacities.

During the 1990s through the early 2000s, when I was a practicing visual artist, my work made use of materials culturally considered medical. My purposes, however, challenged traditional medical understanding of the body’s interior. I published and spoke about my work to professional groups drawn from medicine and arts in the new field of medical humanities.

Since 2005, I have concentrated on writing and on writing about art, but I rarely make visual art now.

  • “Music in Words: Is Music Criticism a Form of Translation?”, Levure littéraire no. 14 (2018)
  • “Long Life!,” Ars Medica: A Journal of Medicine, The Arts and Humanities, Vol 13, no. 21 (2018).
  • “What Won’t Kill You,” Eclectica, on-line magazine, October/November, 2011.
  • “Choosing My Own Doctor,” Yale Journal for Humanities in Medicine. Ed. Howard Spiro. October 2001. Solicited article.
  • “leopardpeople/burning child,” introductory essay in Nils D. Dicaz, Leopardpeople: Eineinstallation in der Camp Gallery, Mt. San Angelo, Virginia, USA. Berlin: Lukas Verlag, 2000.
  • New Music Box, articles, 2009-2011:
    • “Sounds Heard: “Spark of Being”—Music by Dave Douglas, Film by Bill Morrison,” April 2011.
    • “Sounds Heard: Eric Lund—‘by the line of the arc that they form,’” February 2011.
    • “Sounds Heard: Steve Butters—“Oomaharumooma,” October 2010.
    • “Moving Away from the Center of Jazz: Thomas Wirtel, a.k.a. Thomas Shabda Noor,” August 2010.
    • “Morgan Powell on the Creative Process: The Reality of Maborosi,” October 2009.
    • “Interview with Morgan Powell,” Perfect Sound Forever, July 2009.
    • Dancing with the Ramblers, The Tone Road Ramblers, Einstein Records, New York, 2008. Liner notes to music by Morgan Powell, John Fonville, and Eric Mandat.


  • Cannibal Appetites. State University of New York at Cortland, 2004.
  • Reflections of a Mad Artist. D’Arcy Art Museum of the Loyola University of Chicago and Hektoen Institute for Medical Research, 2004.
  • Medicine's Clinical Representations of Abnormal Human Bodies. Illustrated with clinical photographs and with slides of Starr’s visual art. Society for Literature and Science, Buffalo 2001.
  • Doctors and Patients in Visual Relation. Yale University School of Medicine, 2001.
  • The Body Inside Me. Illustrated with Starr’s visual art. Barnard College Feminist Art and Art History Conference, New York 2001.
  • Medical Normality or Social Normality? Images of Human Infants and Fetuses with Visible Physical Abnormalities.” Magdalene College, Cambridge, 2001.
  • Love in a Small Place: Straight Girl and Gay Boy in and out of the Closet. Kenyon College, 2002.
  • I Tell You No Lies: Narration from Bipolar Illness.” Davis Lecture in Medical Ethics. University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine; 7th International Congress on the History of Medicine, Galveston, Texas; Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Post-Doctoral Program, Pritzker School of Medicine, University of Chicago, 2000.
  • The Artist, Her Doctor, and Relational Portraits. Illustrated with historical images and slides of Starr’s visual art. National Portrait Gallery, London. Cosponsored by the British Society for the History of Science; organized by Ludmilla Jordanova, 2000.
  • The Body: Sensation, Fantasy, and Medical Knowledge, Northwestern University Medical School, 1999.
  • Book Artists’ Round Table, organized by the Center for Book Arts, New York, at Connecticut College, 1999.
  • Under My Skin: Curriculum Vitae, Story, and the Book,” Pennsylvania State University, 1997.


  • Anderson Center for Interdisciplinary Studies, residency, 2012
  • Finalist, Creative Capital/Andy Warhol Grants for Arts Writers, Blog category, 2012.
  • Richard J. Margolis Award of the Blue Mountain Center, Finalist, 2008.
  • Best Arts Profile, Ohio Society of Professional Journalists, 2006.
  • Ohio Excellence in Journalism, Second Place in Arts, Cleveland Press Club, 2006.
  • Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Sweet Briar, Virginia. Artist residencies, 1996-2001, 2005, 2013.
  • The Ragdale Foundation, Lake Forest, Illinois. Artist residencies 1995-2007, 2018.
  • Reynolds Associates Fellowship, Historical Collections of the Lister Hill Library, University of Alabama at Birmingham Medical School, 2001.
  • Purchase prize awarded by Jan Howard, Eleventh Annual National Drawing and Print Competitive Exhibition, College of Notre Dame of Maryland, 1999.
  • Resident Research Grant, Francis Clark Wood Institute for the History of Medicine of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, 1999.
  • Professional Development Grant, Massachusetts Cultural Council, 1998.
  • Purchase prize awarded by Janet Bishop, 1996 Stockton National Print and Drawing Exhibition.



  • Anatomically Correct Woman. Ann Starr and Linda Kramer. Corbett vs. Dempsey Gallery, Chicago, 2005.
  • Normal/Abnormal: Bodies and Minds. Solo show, and juror for concomitant group show. Woman Made Gallery, Chicago, 2003.
  • Home Construction. Boston Architectural Center, 1999.
  • Inside In. University of Massachusetts Medical Center, Worcester, 1998.
  • Solo Show. Finish Limited, Boston, 1998.
  • Cradle and Grave. Lillian Immig Gallery, Emmanuel College, Boston. Curated by Kathleen Soles, 1993.


  • Aftermath. Target Gallery, Alexandria, Virginia. Juried by Laurel Reuter. 2008.
  • Secrets and Lies(Artist books). 23 Sandy Gallery, Portland, Oregon. 2008.
  • Fifteenth Anniversary Show. Invitational, Woman Made Gallery, Chicago. 2007.
  • Full Frontal: The Dirty, Lewd, Erotic Show. Corbett vs. Dempsey Gallery, Chicago. 2006.
  • 29th Small Works Show.80 Washington Square East Gallery, New York. Juried by Jack Shainman, 2006.
  • The Book as Art. Organization of Independent Artists, New York. 2005.
  • 2001 Book as Art XIV, Temptation. National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington. Juried by Krystyna Wasserman.
  • Vital Signs: Drawing as Inquiry. Creative Arts Workshop, New Haven. Juried by Robert Reed. 2000.
  • 23rd Annual Art on Paper Exhibition. Maryland Federation of Art, Annapolis. Juried by Phyllis Rosenzweig. 2000.
  • 2000 Bowery Gallery National Competition. Bowery Gallery, New York City. Juried by Joan Snyder.
  • Third Annual International Juried Show. Woman Made Gallery, Chicago.
  • 1999 Eleventh National Drawing and Print Competitive Exhibition. Gormley Gallery, College of Notre Dame of Maryland, Baltimore. Juried by Jan Howard. Purchase Award.
  • All Media, Materials, Mixes, National Juried Exhibition. MUSE Gallery, Philadelphia. Juried by Rick Snyderman. 1997.
  • Merged Realities (Art and Science).Central Arts Collective, Tucson. Juried by Joel Korten and Elizabeth King. 1997.
  • Annual Artist Member Exhibition. Center for Book Arts, New York. Juried by Virginia Bartow, Steve Clay, and Deirdre Lawrence. 1997.
  • Out of the Center: Artists’ Books from the Center for Book Arts. Charles E. Shain Library and Art Department, Connecticut College, New London. 1997.
  • 12th Annual Women in the Visual Arts 1998 International Competition. Erector Square Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut. Juried by Andrea Miller- Keller.
  • Book as Art XI. National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington. Juried by Krystyna Wasserman. 1998.
  • International Juried Show. New Jersey Center for Visual Arts, Summit, New Jersey. Juried by Nan Rosenthal.
  • No England, No Amsterdam II. Real Art Ways, Hartford. Juried by Kenny Schachter. 1997.
  • Book as Art: Tenth Anniversary Exhibition. National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington. Juried by Krystyna Wasserman. 1997.
  • The Brain and Self. Copenhagen and Elsinore, Denmark. 1996.
  • Book as Art. National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington. Juried by Krystyna Wasserman, 1996.
  • 1996 Stockton National Drawing and Print Exhibition. The Haggin Museum, Stockton, California. Juried by Janet Bishop. Purchase Award.
  • A Woman’s Place: Icons to Domesticity. Provincetown Art Association and Museum, Massachusetts, 1992.
  • New American Talent, 1989. Laguna Gloria Art Museum, Austin. Juried by John Caldwell.


  • College of Notre Dame of Maryland, Baltimore.
  • Haggin Museum, Stockton, California.
  • Northwestern University Medical School, Chicago.
  • Wellesley College, Wellesley, Massachusetts.
  • Wesleyan University Special Collections, Middletown, Connecticut.
  • Private collections, including Janet Bean, Matts Gustafsson, Ludmilla Jordanova, Lou Mallozzi and Sandra Binion, Leah Oates, and Kathleen Soles.



  • School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Developed and taught “Artists and Mental Illness.” 2006.
  • Northwestern University Medical School. Classes on “Alternative Anatomy,” and “Inhabiting Authority,” through having students make their own medical books. 2004, 2003, 2001, 2000.
  • University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine, Medical Education Department, special topics seminar, “Alternative Anatomy.” 2001.
  • Pennsylvania State College of Medicine. National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute. 2002.
  • Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical Center, Chicago. Clinical Pastoral Care Residency Program, workshop leader. 2001.


  • School of the Art Institute of Chicago, 2006, 2005.
  • University of Chicago, 2000.
  • College of the Holy Cross, Massachusetts, 2000.
  • Wellesley College, Massachusetts, 2000.
  • Pennsylvania State University, 1997.


  • Independent Book Publishers' Association, Juror for Poetry, Ben Franklin Awards. 2017.
  • New York Academy of Medicine, Reader, Helfand Fellowships in the Humanities. 2001.


  • M.A., English, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, 1975.
  • A.B., magna cum laude, with Distinction in English, Kenyon College, Gambier, Ohio, 1973.


©2018 Ann Starr \ Columbus, Ohio, USA