Not Going to Buenos Aires opened (in person visits!) last weekend at the Errant Art Space in Victoria, B.C. The previous Art Caravan post explained the genesis of the art show’s theme – six artists inquire into the complexity of yearning to be anywhere other than the ‘here’ of a pandemic shutdown.
As you can imagine, six artists interpret one theme in vastly different ways. The website for NGTBA provides each artist’s statement and artwork images. The diversity of media is remarkable – you will see embroidery, collage, printmaking, paper sculpture and painting.
As I noted in the last post, overlapping ideas, like climate change and environmental degradation, emerged from the works. Other commonalities are evident. It’s interesting to see Janet Brooks and Kate Scoones both reference the ubiquitous Zoom calls we are all enduring. Janet created a series of Zoom Room paintings which mimic the fractured Zoom experience in an emphasized horizontal perspective.
About her works Among my Souvenirs, Kate says: Each subject is alone and motionless on a colourful background, with no specific landscape or environment. They are intimate yet aloof (not unlike a Zoom call when private space is shared with strangers).
My series wish you were here….. echoes Kate’s observation about uniqueness within a relationship. The presentation of the artwork also reinforces the grid inherent in a Zoom call.
Almost all of the artists commented that the pandemic, while forcing us to slow down, resulted in new discoveries in our art practises. Trish Shwart says she’s been able to… work more slowly, and at a much larger scale than I have worked in the past few years. The continuous day to day practice has allowed me to develop a kind of resilience in terms of how I approach and modify the paintings over the course of their development.
Kate writes I wouldn’t have delved so deeply into a mundane subject and found it so compelling had I not been confined.
In my own studio, I was surprised by the long lengths of time I spent working on the larger pieces. It felt like an extraordinarily contemplative process. Standing on their Shoulders took me several iterations, and months, to complete.
Not surprisingly, Amy humorously summed up her experience working at home.
I have a short attention span so for NGTBA, as a challenge, I took on a v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-w-w project. My Monkey Mind was hand embroidered with single strands of thread and that extended the work time into just short of forever. And that was supposed to be the point.
At times i experienced it as a meditation as intended, and at other times it felt like a drawn out trial. In those times, if ‘trial’ is a metaphor, I found myself guilty of monkeying around.
In the end, fast, s-l-o-w, meditative, drawn out, guilty, or not, it was all part of the dance.
The show is open one more weekend, (April 17-18, 2021) with covid protocols in place. We’ve provided a website with plenty of visuals, links to a CBC radio interview, and a visual walk through ‘tour.’ Please visit as you are able, and see if any of our responses to these strange days resonate with you.