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Open Access Book review

Review of ‘BipolART’ by D. N. Wheatley (Springer, 2012)

Paul S Agutter

Author Affiliations

Theoretical Medicine and Biology Group, 26 Castle Hill, Glossop, Derbyshire, SK13 7RR, UK

Theoretical Biology and Medical Modelling 2013, 10:2  doi:10.1186/1742-4682-10-2

Published: 3 January 2013

First paragraph (this article has no abstract)

This delightful book comprises just 121 pages of main text, but in that short compass Denys Wheatley manages not only to convey much about bipolar disorder from the sufferer’s point of view but also to provoke the reader into pondering the nature of creativity in art and science. At the same time he contrives to entertain and to please the eye. Wheatley draws in part on his long personal experience of extreme mood swings, making stimulating observations about the value of art (particularly doodling) as therapy, and in part on his profound and wide-ranging scientific knowledge and his love of great paintings and music. The quality of his art work is well above ‘amateur’ standard, and the often abstract forms show the influence of his decades of research in zoology and cell biology, a fascination with geometry, the visual environment, and Europe’s cultural heritage. In addition to the reflective chapters and the analytical comments on individual drawings and paintings, the author gives us a fascinating stage-by-stage guide to the process by which a doodle can grow from insignificant beginnings into an eye-catching piece of art. He almost tempted me to take up doodling, but I doubt whether I could create any end-product to match his.