Whether or not we acknowledge and accept the reality of the pandemic, we are living in a significant historic moment. Our daily lives and our corporate life have changed for a substantial and unknown period of time. Our movements and interactions – everywhere! – are severely limited by the threat of illness and death. As artists we grappled with those limitations through the Not Going to Buenos Aires theme: inquire into the complexity of yearning to be anywhere other than the “here” of a pandemic shutdown.
As I wrote in a previous post six artists produce six very different responses. Images and artist statements, available on our website, illustrate the variety of interpretations.
For some of the artists Not Going to Buenos Aires marks a significant change in their personal art practises. Kate Scoones, with a laugh, refers to Before Not Going To Buenos Aires and After Not Going To Buenos Aires.
The spontaneity of the work I found to be just so rewarding and it kept me going. I think that has made a huge shift in my art practise now. I can forever say ‘Before Not Going to Buenos Aires’ I worked this way, and now I work this way – another way – a different way.
Participating in Not Going to Buenos Aires was notable for Amy Marcus. (@amarcusx) I was always a dabbler who made things. I became somebody who could put something forward and feel that it was good enough to be accepted. I could stand in that, and feel good about that.
At the very least, participating in NGTBA gave me a project for the covid winter we endured. Less time on screens and more time in the studio is always a good thing.
Like Kate I also learned to be open to new ways of working. I created highly personal pieces. I believed the assumption that being too personal in my work would seem pedestrian – not interesting to others, and only appeal to a limited audience. I discovered the opposite is true. The most personal artworks elicited the strongest positive responses.
In a Not Going to Buenos Aires debriefing meeting (on Zoom, of course!) Kate expanded on my observation. You have to let things happen. They sit with you. They come out. The truer you are to that feeling, the truer the work will be. And in spite of it feeling so personal – like it really comes out of you – it resonates with people. That’s what the person who purchased your work is going… ‘Oh! This is coming from a place inside myself that I recognize.’
Participating in Not Going to Buenos Aires forced me to clarify my thoughts about the reality of living, and loss, during pandemic times. Joanne Hewko agrees. This project – having a framework to think about – and to do a deep dive intellectually into my thinking – was super useful. I liked having something to really sink my teeth into.
Let’s end with Amy’s summary of participating in Not Going to Buenos Aires :
I loved working with all of you. I felt like it was a group effort. I know everyone goes away and does what the do and that’s always one of the things that amazes me about a project – when everyone has the same topic and they create something that’s completely different. It’s just amazing, and fascinating, and so soul satisfying to see what other people do.
Don’t be surprised to see Soul Satisfying t-shirts this summer. I suspect they could be very popular with artists.