I recently inherited 100 sheets of rice paper from my beloved painting mentor that inspires me to show up six days a week at my studio—a tribute to her. The conversation about life and the unknowable starts with calligraphic marks in fluid paint and inks without a deliberate execution of any one idea. My painting along with my writing practice are two partners in the process. During this pandemic daemons resembling angels have shown up. It’s no wonder since we need them especially now.
Greg Mason Burns
Expressing this image eased my initial anxiety about the pandemic through the process of its creation.
I am currently a senior at York High School, and like everyone else, this pandemic has greatly impacted me. I decided to make this piece after I received an email from my superintendent that my school was going to be closed for the remainder of the school year. This piece, although not a self-portrait, is a reflection of my inner thoughts and feelings on how COVID-19 affects me and my last year of high school.
We are living in a unique time for our gigantic planet during this pandemic. We are asked to walk inside ourselves and ponder as Paul Gauguin asked “Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going? And most importantly, how did we get here?”
For all it is a time of solitude and of inner growth, as we are forced to cocoon in place and investigate the changes in our planet, and to find out how this is changing us as humans. We are developing ideas about what we can do to help heal ourselves and our universe to make it far healthier than it ever was.
Now, with the recent eruptions of anger, those who have long lived under the dehumanized script of racism and hopelessness are fighting back, worn down by the oppression they have lived under. The pandemic has created a frustration drawn from fierce socioeconomic lines that are blaring and hopeless, long in need of change.
In my paintings, I’m focusing on the moods of this time: the fights in the streets of outrage, the angel looking for mercy between the planets, or the solitude of an empty lounge chair.
Image at top: Renuka O’Connell, Close to Home, mixed media, 18 x 23 in.