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Art in the Time of COVID-19

Artists have always been exceptional in their style of response to socio-political happenings. Community is in our name, and In an effort to highlight some of the work of our community artists during socially distant times, we have worked closely with those artists to offer a look at what works they have finished during the coronavirus outbreak, as well as works in progress and studio spaces. Some of these works align closely with themes that some of these artists have been working in, and some are direct responses to COVID-19, protective and sanitary equipment shortages, and social distancing.

Note: Click any image to expand.

Heather Olsen, Getting Ready To Go Into Battle

This painting was inspired by the nurses and doctors who, when the onslaught of Covid-19 hit, jumped right in to help. They selflessly worked non-stop (literally passing out due to lack of food and sleep) just to try and save as many people as they can. They sacrificed themselves in order to treat others. Many healthcare workers were sleeping in their cars in order to protect their families from getting the virus. This hit home for me. These are true heroes risking their own lives and sacrificing everything they have to save everyone else. I wanted to pay tribute to them as they are on the front lines of this battle.

Heather Olsen, Gearing Up

This painting was commissioned by the IHC healthcare team who traveled to New York to aid the crisis there during the Covid-19 epidemic. Given complete artistic freedom, I decided to depict a nurse wearing the IHC yellow body covering and putting on the blue mask. The world has never faced anything like this before and neither have these nurses and doctors. Yet they left their families and homes to travel to the epicenter of the virus outbreak to help save as many people as possible. They helped to save the world and I was honored to be able to paint this tribute for them.

Heather Olsen, Here We Go

As I talked to many of the nurses and doctors who were on the front lines of the battle in New York City, many of them said they felt scared and worried that they didn't have the right skills and knowledge to be able to handle an epidemic like this. But they did it anyway. They went into the belly of the beast and did their job the best they could. They didn't do it for glory or praise, but because they saw people suffering and wanted to help. Their desire to help people is why they became a nurse/doctor in the first place. This painting depicts a nurse who is maybe unsure of herself, but ready to step in and save as many people as she can.

Gilmore Scott, Whirling Starry Male Storm

This piece is my interpretation of a night storm. Using a traditional rug design of a Storm Pattern.

This one is of a Male Storm, big cumulus clouds. It brings the first sounds of thunder & lightning. Letting us know spring is coming. The sounds shakes the earth waking all animals, insects and plants who have been in hibernation. As kid I remember my mother would tell me to go stretch outside and wake my body up as well. Then she'd say to get ready for the Female storms.

Jonna Ramey, A Branch of Gingko Leaves (Work in Progress) & Studio Space

Gingko trees, branches and leaves have intrigued me all my life. Over the years, I've made several sculptures featuring gingko leaves. I have photographed and sketched them and kept all those elements as resources for future sculptures. I am always on the lookout for stones that would lend themselves to sculptures of leaves. I recently looked at a stone I have had in my rockpile for years, turned it over and 'saw' a spray of gingko leaves. That is the piece I am working on now.

Honeycomb calcite cannot be chiseled by hand. The celled structure of the stone is such that it can shatter if hammered. To work this piece, I used power tools: Angle grinders, die grinders and Dremels are my tools of choice. I will hand sand the leaves, keep the background textured and plan to darken the background with a subtle wash of tint. The piece will then be sealed and waxed and mounted to a walnut board for the base.

I have found that the county-imposed isolation of this pandemic has opened up my creative mind. Staying away from the 24-hour news cycle has also helped. Focusing on a transitory and essential part of nature – leaves on a branch – helps me gain perspective on humanity in its place on the planet.