Measuring Time: Pandemic Pursuits and Corona Clocks
Panel discussion organized by chair Jan Wurm with presentations by Renate Aller, Shervone Neckles, Foad Satterfield and Kim Thoman.
Session Chair: Jan Wurm, Berkely Art Project
Corona Virus erupted. Sheltering-in-place forced radical shifts in daily life suspending work, family, social routines. Living and working in a studio might remain constant; still, artists faced common dilemma of sourcing: food, medical care, childcare, income. Even with secure personal space, how should an art practice proceed? Manage to square the artwork with the paralyzing fear of a pandemic? How could the permeating deadly unknown be reconciled with the very notion of creative endeavor? Corners of the studio were scoured for paper, ink, old tubes of paint– even old ideas long-buried by daily routines and the constant rush of the next. A book of Hiroshige: each day one page turned – a visual response scrawled across the facing page — dialogues through time and space sparked each day. On the sidewalk, chairs marked social distance with camera recording each precious encounter. A collection of mechanical toys were rhythmically transformed into tiny sculptures sized to the constraining clock. With the clock paused, the fragility of the present matches the past and calls for a manifestation of the life lived – family, love, and labors. Daily notes of paint and thought and process were recorded and attached to backs of canvases. Each artist found distinctive ways of transforming the impulse to work and, marking time, to persevere. Structuring daily routines, setting time and space parameters, or just allowing the work to go off the rails – each approach enabled new work. Studio strivings formed a concrete present. Measured persistence anchored the days.
side walk 6′ apart in NYC – Renate Aller
We are all looking at art and life now, more than ever before – through the lens of our times — art in the time of Covid-19 and our current socio political awareness heightened by the recent events surrounding the murder of George Floyd and many others. I created the project ” side walk” with my camera during the lockdown period when NYC was the epicenter of the pandemic. This time in history reminds me
of the period right after 9/11. I took images of interiors as the drama was one of the exterior, the monumentality of this city was attacked and therefore I pointed the lens into the private
spaces. We were all afraid for our own safety then. Today we are feeling pain and are more afraid for others. As a reaction to people’s lives in solitude ….. For most of April and May I hosted friends and neighbors on our sidewalk or visited them in their street – from a safe 6’ distance, with face masks, the camera in self timer mode recording these encounters. These sidewalk visits give us a deep sense of community where community has been forced apart.
Delving In – Kim Thoman
Starting with a whimsical decorating of a mechanical toy to keep my hands busy during COVID, I slowly recognized that the deeper I delved into the whimsy, other series were percolating and waiting for me to catch up. Naming themselves, Angel Bugs, this series of hanging creatures with a mechanical toy as a body served their purpose, to help me transition to “Isolation Collages”. These works were a move away from the light-hearted to a darker world and gave me time to complete my thinking on an unfinished series, the “One-Wing Angel Series”. As we move out of isolation and return to a life that’s more recognizable yet altered, I find myself revisiting old canvases and reworking them to blossom and explode with color.
Bless This House – Shervone Neckles
Wall hangings capture a liminal figure maneuvering in space wearing a house structure as a headdress, and engulfed by silkscreened layers of neurons. The house structure is a replication of my maternal family home in Grenville, Grenada, built in the mid 20th century. The house survived a fire in 1986 and two hurricanes in 2004 and 2005. In both man-made and natural disasters the family lost primary records, personal ephemera and photos that could never be replaced. To salvage and protect what’s left of my family’s history and ensure that it’s preserved and passed on to the next generation, I’ve constructed a series of three dimensional PVC storage containers to function as a repository for my maternal family’s history. The pandemic has echoed this family history with sheltering-in-place.
Studio Notes: A Deep Dive – Foad Satterfield
This work explores and incorporates ontological issues, specifically nature’s profundity and spiritual qualities. I have found that by just going outside, being still, quietly absorbing what I see, and looking lovingly into what is real, exquisite patterns and relationships of textures, colors, shapes, and planes jump out at me. It is in those moments that the substrate of nature’s delicate and complex interconnectivity is revealed. I take these impressions back to my studio and carefully consider how to treat them artfully and authentically, contemplating the scale, tone, and vision I wish to create. I ask myself: Is this concept compelling? Is it true for me? Does this idea have transformative possibilities for my audience? How will it contribute to the environment where it will be placed? Lastly, does it provide a measure of delight by just looking at it? When these factors align, my vision is ready to be conveyed. I then communicate all that I’ve meditated on through a series of works on paper, which in turn become large paintings. I focus on the process—not on the result—for it is the doing that generates unexpected outcomes that seem fresh and unlabored. During the pandemic this focused process extended to a written document and recording of color, palette decisions, and conceptual considerations to be preserved and linked to each painting.
This in person discussion was held as part of the CAA 2023 Annual Conference in NYC
Saturday February 18, 2023 at the New York Hilton Midtown.
Renate Aller – https://renatealler.com/
Kim Thoman – https://www.kimthoman.com/
Shervone Neckles – https://shervoneneckles.com/
Foad Satterfield – https://www.foadsatterfield.com/
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