These collages were created in response to the experience of the 2020 coronavirus pandemic. They're made using images and text cut from discarded catalogs and magazines. I layer the images to make abstract designs that document my observations and feelings about the coronavirus crisis.
#1 - "How the Light Gets In," 16 x 20 inches, collage on canvas panel, 3/16/20
The title of this piece comes from a Leonard Cohen song -- "There's a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in." Our society feels broken. People are panicked and hoarding. There's conflicting information coming from the news and other sources, and too much of it. Many of us are in lockdown, and isolated in our homes. Although we can't see it yet, there is probably some good that will come from this.
#2 - "Social Distance," 20 x 16 inches, collage on canvas panel, 3/18/20
We've been told to stay at least six feet away from each other. The virus is an invisible boogeyman that makes us feel fearful and suspicious of other people. A mere cough or sneeze sends us running in the other direction.
#3 - "Shelter in Place," 20 x 16 inches, collage and enamel on canvas panel, 3/20/20
We've been told to "shelter in place" and not leave our homes, and we acquiesce out of fear. Everything is closed down except for essential services and businesses. The effect ripples out into our communities and the world as the economy comes to a screeching halt and the stock market crashes.
#4 - "Be Afraid," 20 x 16 inches, collage and enamel on canvas panel, 3/23/20
There's so much fear and uncertainty right now. Fear about the virus. Fear about the food supply. Fear about the economy and our jobs. Fear about the future. Lots of stress and anxiety about what's going to happen and how to get through this time. Sadly we're being manipulated and controlled through fear, guilt and shame.
#5 - "Lockstep," 16 x 20 inches, collage on canvas panel, 3/24/20
We're told what to do and we blindly follow in lockstep. We're easily controlled by fear. There are a few dissenters who question authority, and we shame them by telling them to not be selfish and "do the right thing."
#6 - "Too Much Information," 16 x 20 inches, collage on canvas panel, 3/30/20
Everywhere we turn there's news and information about the coronavirus pandemic. We can't get away from it. Every conversation is about the crisis, and it's all over the Internet. Information overload. Too much information in the news. Confusing and contradictory information. Not knowing who to believe.
#7 - "There Is Still Beauty in the World," 16 x 20 inches, collage, graphite and enamel on canvas panel, 4/5/20
There is still beauty in the world. There is still love in the world.
#8 - "Seeking Comfort in Old Patchwork Quilt," 20 x 16 inches, collage on canvas panel, 4/6/20
Seeking comfort wherever we can find it. Like an old quilt. Homey and comforting.
#9 - "Shattered," 16 x 20 inches, collage and enamel on canvas panel, 4/12/20
Our world has been turned upside down and we have no control over anything anymore.
#10 - "It's Only Words," 16 x 20 inches, collage on canvas panel, 4/14/20
So much is being said about the current crisis, and not much of it means anything. Too much talk and not enough listening. We need to listen to Mother Earth about what she needs and has to say.
#11 - "Cytokine Storm," 20 x 16 inches, collage on canvas panel, 4/18/20
Those most likely to die from the coronavirus are those whose bodies react in a signature, catastrophic way called a cytokine storm. It's a sad condition, but the phrase "cytokine storm" has a wonderful poetic sound to it.
#12 - "At a Loss," 16 x 20 inches, collage on canvas panel, 4/22/20
Grief about all of the things that have been taken away. Sadness about not being able to do the things we used to do and see the people we used to see. Uncertainty about the future. Like night falling, darkness falling, Dark Night of the Soul.
#13 - "Masquerade," 16 x 20 inches, collage on canvas panel, 4/23/20Masks have become compulsory to enter stores and takeout restaurants. There's a rush to acquire masks, and they're not available. It's difficult to communicate with masks on. Sound is muted and muffled, and we can't see each others' facial expressions. It feels very isolating.
#14 - "Free Us From Ourselves," 16 x 20 inches, collage on canvas panel, 4/25/20
Government orders and societal pressure to stay home, wear masks, and follow orders without question. We're not allowed to decide or think for ourselves. We're being held hostage.
#15 - "Netflix Binge," 16 x 20 inches, collage on canvas panel, 4/27/20
Binging on Netflix to pass the time and reduce feelings of anxiety.
#16 - "Seismic Shift," 16 x 20 inches, collage on canvas panel, 4/30/20
The changes the world is experiencing are so profound that it's like a huge seismic shift with a subsequent release of pent-up energy.
#17 - "The New Normal," 16 x 20 inches, collage and enamel on canvas panel, 5/1/20
Face-to-face interaction has been replaced by virtual meetings on digital platforms such as Zoom.
#18 - "Easter in Isolation Mandala, " 16 x 20 inches, collage and graphite on canvas panel, 5/2/20
Easter spent alone. No family, no friends, and no Easter Sunday church services.
#19 - "Light at the End of the Tunnel?," 20 x 16 inches, collage and enamel on canvas panel, 5/5/20
Are we nearing the end of the lockdown? Will some businesses be allowed to reopen? Will we be allowed to leave our homes? What will the new world look like?
#20 - "The Changed Landscape," 20 x 16 inches, collage on canvas panel, 5/6/20
My hairdresser and my health practitioner have both decided to quit, leaving me feeling abandoned. I'm also sad that some of the businesses I like have closed. What will the new landscape look like? The world has been turned upside down, on its head.
#21 - "Heartstrings," 20 x 16 inches, collage, enamel and tulle on canvas panel, 5/11/20
Deepening our connection to nature in order to heal our lives and the planet.
#22 - "The Truth Will Prevail," 16 x 20 inches, collage, colored pencil and enamel on canvas, 5/14/20
There's conflicting information about the coronavirus pandemic -- the cause and origin of the virus, the infection rate, the death rate, the seriousness of the disease, the effectiveness of masks and social distancing, the necessity of a complete lockdown, and the chances of finding a vaccine or a cure. In time, the truth about all of this will be revealed.
#23 - "Time Stands Still," 16 x 20 inches, collage, graphite and colored pencil on canvas panel, 5/15/20
Waiting for something to happen. Waiting for life to begin again. Waiting without knowing what's going on or what's going to happen. Life on hold. Everything closed. Nothing to do, no one to see. Boredom. Uncertainty. Trying to figure out and adjust to this new way of life.
#24 - "Gluttony," 16 x 20 inches, collage on canvas panel, 5/16/20
Eating for comfort. Eating to soothe anxiety. Eating to reassure ourselves that everything will be OK.
#25 - "Where Are We Going?," 16 x 20 inches, collage on canvas panel, 5/29/20
Maps represent looking for something, seeking a destination, and going somewhere. When I cut them into pieces for this collage, the way forward becomes unclear -- perhaps a metaphor for our times. Where are we headed and what's happening? Lack of information and the uncertainty are hard to take.
#26 - "Isolation," 16 x 20 inches, collage, enamel, graphite, and colored pencil on canvas panel, 6/2/20
Even with lockdown ending, we're still isolated. We have to wear masks, maintain a distance of six feet, and avoid other people as much as possible. It feels lonely. No indoor gatherings and no hugging. We are each alone.