Light is the left hand of darkness
and darkness the right hand of light.
Two are one, life and death, lying
together like lovers in kemmer,
like hands joined together,
like the end and the way.
– Ursula K Le Guin
The Renaissance (meaning “rebirth” in Latin), occurred directly after the bubonic plague and dark ages, culminating in radical transformation in society, including in art, and a change in the status of oppressed identities such as women and workers. In this moment, the United States is reckoning with its past and being confronted with the failings of its systems and the history of violence and oppression towards Black, indigeonous, and all communities of color. Through this, the United States is transforming and moving towards change for the better. The ancient Chinese concept of yin and yang teaches us that darkness and light are intertwined, and that within darkness and suffering, light and healing can be found. The works by these artists evoke this through artistic explorations of the dualities of this moment in history, both facing the darkness and expecting the light.
Beth Davila Waldman
Inevitable Entails No. 9, 2020. Phototransfer and Acrylic Paint on Canvas. 40” x 26”. Courtesy of the artist.
Exploring what the price of our times is to the individual and to culture, “Inevitable Entails” presents a mixed tension of a dystopian nature. “Inevitable Entails No. 9” was completed during SIP. It developed embracing the daily struggle of these times. Here, color addresses the emotional choices we face frequently while the disintegrating landscape of the photo and energy of the edges of the paint speak to the intense and cautious state of each day.
Gregg A Chadwick
America’s Sons – From Ferguson, To Baltimore, to Minneapolis, 2014-2020. Oil on Linen. 24” x 48”. Photo by the artist. Courtesy of the artist.
America’s Black Sons and Daughters are being murdered. The United States is facing the darkness of its 400 year history. #GeorgeFloyd should be alive today. #AhmaudArmery should be alive and breathing. #BreonnaTaylor and other black people killed by police this year, should be alive and breathing. We must have accountability following tragic and preventable police and vigilante-involved deaths. #BlackLivesMatter.
2019. Paper collage, acrylic on canvas. Various sizes. Courtesy of the artist.
The artworks depict the nexus between ourselves and the world around and within us, chaotic strands of our entangled mental, emotional, and other perceptual experiences, fragmented selves, wholeness; interconnected networks, algorithmic patterns, binary codes … all happening in a creative field of infinite potential. We are in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic; we are also at the peak of the USA’s 400 year old pandemic of racism and police brutality . At no other time in our lives, have we had the opportunity to see what would happen if the world simply stopped. The Great Pause. It has forced us to hold up the mirror to ourselves as human beings to see who we really are.
VII, 2020. Mixed media on paper. 16” x 20”. Courtesy of the artist.
During this global pandemic, I have been creating simple and uncomplicated works directly inspired by the California mountains. The contemplative pieces remind spectators of the sacredness and perfection of our environment. The works bring me and I hope give the public a moment of peace and respite that is so much needed. In the middle of Covid 19, police brutality and “Black Lives Matter” movements, these scenes also symbolize freedom, resilience and the power of our human condition to rise above catastrophes, violence and racism. The breeze on the peaks makes us feel we are free and alive.
Melinda Smith Altshuler
COVID Couture in a time of unrest, 2020. Hand knit of strings of teabags, Tee shirt scrap, on wooden display. 24” x 8” x 5”. Installed and shot at the artists studio. Courtesy of the artist.
Covid Couture, a mask of high style. Really tongue and cheek use of materials found easily at hand. Sort of a new Arte Povera in the time of COVID 19. The mask is hand made by the artist, knit of the strings from teabags. At a time when all is serious and since this application was first presented the world is rising up to so much more, the artist hopes for peaceful changes.
My Reflection, 2020. Mixed media, collage, dry palette paint, acrylic on illustration board. Courtesy of the artist:
It has been difficult to create during the Covid19 pandemic. This series of paintings reflects the emotions felt during these times of upheaval. 1st painting of the series – PARALYZED, A SELF PORTRAIT: I felt caged and could not even approach my paints, like I was fighting forces inside the studio. So I just stood there, gazing at everything, unable to create. 2nd painting – ISOLATION: I was finally able to touch my studio table. I started tearing pieces of dry paint off my palette. These pieces were the history of my art that lived static within me during that time. 3rd painting – BORN TO BREATH: As everyone is adapting and working together to stay healthy with the Covid19 pandemic, another even more painful pandemic hits us. It is not something new like the virus, but rather, it is the systemic and deep rooted pandemic of racism. One human takes away another’s right to breath in a brutal murder. I have so many emotions, so much anger for the injustice, people getting together to protest racism. The painting gets busy. A large piece torn from my dried palette represents the lungs, a vital organ that when unhealthy can kill. Breathing is a human right. When an unexpected novel respiratory virus attacks the world, scientists work hard to protect lives. Yet, those met to protect lives take them away. Freedom to live, freedom to breath is a human right. VOTE! Black lives matter.
Luigia Gio Martelloni
NATURE is OPEN (Resilience), 2020. Burlap, bricks, nature. Site installation. Courtesy of the artist.
I pay particular attention to the natural world and its relation to humanity, transforming and reinterpreting everyday reality: traces from nature, fragments, geographic places, urban spaces. I work with multimedia installations, painting, found materials, papers, photography and video. In my work with trees, I often remove them from their habitat in order to magnify their grace, their beauty, the spread of their branches out in the air, to reveal their unique truth and memorize the moment of the encounter.