Sunday, April 26, 2020

Art during COVID 19 shelter in place
April 26th, 2020

So what have I been up to these days, when the entire world is affected by the COVID 19 pandemic?

I have been, mainly, spending a lot of time with my children, Albert and Karl, who are my "wild things" (and I can't imagine them being any other way). Sure, it is more convenient to train one's children to be obedient, but that always just feels so smothering to me. So I let them be free and wild. It is a blessing and a curse, of course, and my studio practice suffers. This is the time when the difference between being a parent (or a caretaker) vs. being without children, or someone else to take care of, is so staggeringly apparent. This is the time when being present, alert, and serious about the needs of your dependents is an absolute number one. And art, though a soul-feeding necessity, at the same time becomes a luxury. 

Most days now more than ever are about parenting, or better say, socializing with my kids. The Croatian language has a nice word "druzenje" that somehow means "time spent in quality-hanging out". I am sure there is a beautiful and rich word in English for that but it somehow escapes me. Just to say "socializing" or "hanging out" with my kids sounds too superficial and distant. I feel we are bonding on a much deeper level because we have all the time in the world for each other. Anyway, that is not to say they are not driving me completely insane on any given day, and that I don't miss my alone time dearly. But I know that they come first, and they are now stuck at home, without their schools, friends, their normal routine, so I must be present. 
So though it feels like I have been completely robbed of my studio time, I still somehow haven't (for the life of me, I don't know how!) completely lost my connection with my art life.

 I will list my art-related practices and events here in the form of a checklist of sorts just so I can read it myself and conclude that there are still many relevant moments to be acknowledged.

1. My work is right now in an online exhibition at Kathryn Markel Fine Arts, titled "Transparent". Other featured artists include Ky Anderson, Sarah Irvin, Eric Blum, Daniel Brice, Jeffrey Cortland Jones, Gudrun Metres-Frady, Annette Davidek, Laura Fayer, and Debra Smith.

From the exhibit description: Artists use transparencies for different reasons - To illuminate processes,  to reveal a paintings' history or to mask it, to create new spaces, or to veil figures and shapes.  Sometimes, the transparencies are intentional, sometimes just a function of the media or process, but they always add a sense of depth and history.
Rendering of my "Origin" painting on the wall, @ Kathryn Markel Fine Art's website in the current online exhibition "Transparent".*

This online exhibit is now also on with all the works available for purchase.

2. I have started painting a small scale 9"x12" series (just like I did with Albert's and Karl's series when they were babies and I had practically no studio time).  I titled the series appropriately "En Passant" (In Passing), as these pieces are literally created during stolen moments in the early morning when everyone else is asleep, or later in the evening when my husband's work is done for the day and he takes over the kids.
                                            En Passant series
3. I am also doing a lot of scribbling in several small sketchbooks; very fresh, very lose little croquis pieces, that I can work on outside of the studio space; in the yard, while my kids are playing, or when I am talking on the phone with my mom (who is in a retirement home in Croatia and is room-bound). These everyday conversations with my mom are also my long-distance-caretaking moments since she has no close family there, and can't visit with friends due to strict rules of social distancing. She spends all her day confined to her room and is thankful for the library and the coloring books that she carefully colors with colored pencils. These days we often talk a lot about various color matches and different shades and compare them to flowers or moss, or sky. I feel more aware (and grateful!) just how much love and passion for the matters of aesthetics the two of us share.

4. I am working on new "Migration" paintings on wooden panels, and these will be featured in the upcoming exhibition at Walker Fine Arts in Denver, in May. The exhibition is titled "Power and Fragility" which truly captures the feeling of the moment. I intermittently feel like I am both of those things. The exhibition will present works by Allison Svoboda, Jane Guthridge, Tonia Bonnell, Patricia Finley, Zelda Zinn, and myself. 
Here is the link to a little "introductory" video about my new work for this exhibition.
And though it now seems very unlikely that "Power and Fragility" will have a physical opening in May, it is still planned and scheduled to be installed, and while the opening reception will probably be virtual, and the artists and gallery staff will join via social media, the paintings, real-life ones, still have to be made. Finished. Photographed. Filed in a database. Wired. Packed. Shipped. The show must go on.
                                            Migration series