Updated: Sep 4, 2020
Opening Virtually September 11
The new exhibit COVID-19 Crisis or Opportunity - Artists Response Group Exhibition, runs through November 30th. The theme is creativity in the time of COVID-19. The works in the show do not necessarily represent images of the virus or its negative consequences, but the overflowing of creativity in the time of change. The theme attracted visual artists, sculptors, photographers and film-makers from many parts of the world: Sophia, Bulgaria; McClean Texas; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; San Francisco and Oakland, California; New York, Philadelphia; Denver, Aquilar, Trinidad and La Veta, Colorado; and many other locals.
The crisis is being shut in – isolated – separate from the comradery that we know as the art community. The opportunity is the time it allotted us to think – to begin to see new ways of being. How we cope while staying safe and practicing healthy habits so that the virus will not overcome us is a theme, we heard from many of our artists friends. People who once had an occasional drink stopped all together in fear that their immune system would weaken. We also heard from some of the artists in the exhibit that they felt their civil liberties were being infringed upon – that by wearing a mask they were being put out. Hard to believe! Brendt Berger who co-runs the museum and is in this exhibit answered that thought with “so if you were alive during the Blitz in London (WWII) and you had to urinate would you put the lights on?” Interesting thought I would say. There are so many emotions being expressed in this exhibit: fear, anxiety, hope, clarity. Some of the artists stuck with what they know – having more time – they even perfected their work further. The youngest artist in the show is Brandy Gilbert. Her works were inspired by found wood and the repetition of patterns. Brendt Berger also uses repetition and created well over 100 new works. Annamarie Trombetta’s print of the original “The Pandemic and the Pangolin” pictured above describes the theme literally:
“This canvas depicts darkness and sunlight conjoined by the ethereal energy radiating from the hand held text within the image. The sides of the canvas are painted with symbols of various religions and beliefs that could represent the spiritual text on the canvas. The message is that all faiths are one in the same. The painting stands on a wooden rotating spinner.
The circular canvas is encased within a glass rattan box to symbolize the world and the current "boxed in" state of circumstances. The coronavirus in the atmosphere is the same as the viral source, the pangolin ( Asian anteater)
The original rotated and was framed behind glass. The other in the show by Trombetta is a print The Chinese Scholars Garden Bagua Colors of Coronavirus. The Bagua is a Chinese philosophical concept that is superimposed on a house or environment. I used the colors of the Bagua on each side of the Octagon which is the geometric structural format imposed conceptually upon a space. This presentation is to reveal that the virus is all pervasive.”
Both of her works on view are Giclee prints. The ease in this method and overnight shipping also speaks about our current time – it was easier to make Giclee prints then ask the artist to leave her apartment and risk waiting in line at a mail carrier.
Another artist Elizabeth Hansen not only dealt with the fear of the “all pervasive” virus she drove through wildfires on both sides of the freeway to get to FedEx from her town in California to the closest one in Petaluma. The night she mailed the works we spoke by phone Elizabeth was quite rattled and besides the ordeal of driving through fire she had to start packing as evacuation orders were in effect. Luckily they were lifted soon after and she was able to remain in her home. Below please enter the link to her poetic works and writing that are in the exhibit 17 original watercolors and mixed media in Elegy for My Alma Mater. This is a real outpouring of emotion, thought and subconscious connection to the moment. We are so honored to have the whole series in this exhibit. Here is an example:
new life new worlds
original painting on Arches Watercolor paper 11” x 14” acrylic and metallic paint
Another generous Californian Jan Wurm sent four original works speak to the angst of the moment. Below is a full list of all the artists in this show and oh I forgot to mention each one of them is a friend or one is now a friend. Ann Bradford Spencer responded to a social media post on Instagram. She lives in Oklahoma City area and generously mailed the work. This is her response to the show:
“I saw the call for art about creativity during the pandemic on Instagram and wanted to submit a painting of mine for consideration. This abstract artwork is acrylic on canvas (11x14) and is entitled “Unpredictable.” This year can be characterized by many words, but for me, the word “unpredictable” continues to loop through my mind as I contemplate it. I also feel that it has affected my art as well. My work lately is much less predictable and more in the moment and intuitive. As we continue to experience this crazy, unpredictable year, we must continue learning to live and love in the moment, and rely more on our intuition. For me, art is such a metaphor for life, and this painting has really captured the metaphor for life right now.”
The names of all the artists in the exhibit are:
Linn Baker, Tim Baker, Brendt Berger, Christine Boyd, Ann Bradford, Maria Cocchiarelli, Ben Eagle, Ray Espinoza, P.D. Garrett, Brandy Gilbert, Elizabeth Hansen, Kathy Hill, Jim Long, Chris MacMichael, Emily Nieswiadomy, Charles Parson, Collin Parson, Devon Parson, John Raggio, Brian Rosino, Gregory Tait, Miryana Todonova, Annamarie Trombetta, Paul Valadez, Gary Weston, Jan Wurm.
The virtual opening scheduled for September 11th on Facebook will be recorded so if you are not able to join us that day please view it when you have a moment.
Exhibit Installation in process: John Raggio sculpture in foreground, Miryana Todonova on left, Brendt Berger Center, Maria Cocchiarelli on right