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Conundrum as Therapy

Lester Leeland therapy session form 1987 - 1994
Art Therapy, conundrum
Art Therapy session 54, Images changed little over the seven years of treatment.
5/12/94 one of the last pictures given to my assistant by Lester Leeland

Conundrum as Therapy
Subconscious and the
persistence of Symbolism.

by Wendell Tately
Subconscious and the persistence of recurring imagery in clinical setting:

The conundrum Icon as a recurring theme can be found in many places, seemingly springing from nowhere. The images on this page were created by a patient of mine. Lester Leeland was committed by his aunt at the age of 23 after a long bout with delusional behavior. He was under my care for seven years from 1987 to 1994. During that timeline he showed little improvement. Through my sessions with him, I encouraged his exploration of his visions/hallucinations in pictoral form, i.e. through art.
Lester was seemingly intelligent and perceptive but his interior life was all consuming, leaving him with little ability to interact in normal verbal discourse. Visual depictions seemed to be his most effective means of communication, but through his art he was able to communicate his bedeviling fantasies

art as therapy, session 97
Art therapy session97, :Image drawn 9/17/90. Interesting geologic content in almost all of his drawings.
This covered animal is rare in his series of Conundrum images

The drawings, on paper with conté crayon, were numerous. His productivity was prolific, but his subject matter never changed.
Lester Leeland seemed fixated on the depiction of a plane, a landscape cast with shadow many dark colors, as if seen by night in moonlight. Within this context were seen an unending number of double ended animals. These were buttoxes conjoined. The animals were depicted in many ways but without variation in color, tone or hue. With no variation, the pictures were all cast within a geologic context. The animations were in both foreground and background, some buried as if they were rock formations or buried animals anchored in place by millennia of geologic cycles.
In my limited communication with Lester Leeland, I could not get a definitive comment on his thoughts of the meaning of these perplexing drawings.
Lester was released from my care in 1994. Since that time I have treated other patients who have exhibited similar content but Lester’s infirmity was the most profound I have, to this date, seen.


Art therapy, geologic illustration
Art therapy session166, Image drawn 12/25/88 Note the use of perspective and the linkage of forms, drawn in some strange time of day -- neither night nor day. The geologic formations never changed.

As a practicing psychiatrist I have not seen this icon in everyday, pedestrian art; I have not seen symbols in advertisements or exhibits using this theme. If it were not for my association with Ephima Morphew I would not have known of the commonness of this recurring symbol through time.















art therapy, primitive construction
Image drawn in summer of 1988. This is one of the early images I encouraged Lester to explore. There is a static nonanimate narrative quality to imagery. There is a strong sculptural element to these images.

free range art,jpeg
mormon connection.jpg