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My New Series Reacts to the Pandemic

Anne Bedrick

My New Series Reacts to the Pandemic


I hope that you are continuing to stay healthy and socially distanced. 

I have begun going to the studio again, and even though Joe and I are sometimes there at the same time, we try to stay far apart.  Working at the studio has allowed me to have my work around me as I build a new series in reaction to COVID-19 and social isolation.  Having my work around me allows me to evaluate it and also helps me to push myself further on the next piece.
So what does the new series look like?  Here is a sneak peak at the studio wall.  At first glance you may not see the difference because it is still MY work and looks like it.  But when you go up close to the paintings you see the differences. 
Art channels emotions.  Abstract art doesn't show something the same way that representational art does, but it captures the emotions of the moment in which it was created.  The colors, the movements used to create the shapes, the other kind of marks incorporated, the crispness or muddiness of the overall piece, all show how the artist was feeling at the time of creation.  Consider the difference between these two pieces:
The first is called, “Restful Feeling” and was done in October.  The second is called, “A Collective Trauma” and was done in March, during the pandemic.  Can you see it?  Can you feel the emotions of each moment? (You can see the surface of each one more closely by clicking on the images.)
When I painted “Restful Feeling” in the fall, we had been living in Palm Springs for six months.  Things were humming along.  I had found my niche and was meeting new friends and finding more and more opportunities for myself including exhibitions, teaching workshops, and meeting potential clients.  Additionally, at home we were almost fully settled into our new house, living in a beautiful place where we could hike with friends in the warm sunshine.  When you look at that piece can’t you feel the contentment of a happily busy life?
When I painted “A Collective Trauma” the reality of being isolated from others was settling on me.  The news from New York was beginning to be grim. I was in the early stages of grief at losing contact with other people.  I knew that this disbelief and sadness was collective, hence the title. 

My next piece was 40” x 16“ and is titled “A Shrunken World”. 
In this piece I was thinking about how the edges of experience had faded and only the center remains in focus.  At first, I was trying to use dark paint to fade the edges of the piece and concentrate the center with color.  As I continued to work though it felt too clean and too bright and I ended up adding this area of pale sage fogginess over a part of it.  Because even though our worlds have shrunken, even the center can still feel somewhat unclear: What are we supposed to focus on now? What is our purpose? 
In each of these pieces, and also in the pieces below you can see a new mark that I am making in my work, cross hatching, the act of which is quite physical relieves some of my frustration and confusion at the moment I make them. 
You may also have noticed that I have been scratching some words or phrases into the paint in certain areas, a kind of diary of the moment.  Some of the words are easily read and others are more hidden, but all are related to the disease or my emotions. 
In the piece below, I incorporated the image of the COVID-19 virus that has been all over the news.
Were it not so deadly, it could be considered a beautiful form (I have even seen sculptures and paintings from before this time which included this spiky-type ball before it had such menacing connotations.). Because of this, I have titled this 30” x 48” piece “How Can Something So Small (and beautiful, really) Cause So Much Pain and Suffering?”

The depth and movement in this piece is contrasted by the stillness of the painted COVID-19 images which sit very still in the composition, so that at first you might not notice them but once you do they draw your attention to them and fight to keep it.
And finally, here is the newest one that I am working on.  It continues some of the same vocabulary and mark making, using both cross hatching and word scratching, but, in this piece I decided to leave it in a rawer less “finished” state to reflect the raw emotions of the time. 
“Contact Tracing” is not just about the way that the actual disease travels but how the emotional effects of it travel from person to person as well.  The feelings of pain and fear from family and friends who are out of work and afraid of illness travels just as easily as the disease itself. 

What is your reaction to my new body of work?  Is it disturbing? Cathartic? Or? 
Email me your thoughts!  It is so good to stay connected and to hear your reactions.

In Case You Missed it, I had a piece in Steven Janssen's Virtual Exhibition

In case you missed it, I had an earlier piece, "The Space Between Us", also done in reaction to the current pandemic, in the Janssen Artspace (virtual) exhibition on Facebook.  Here is a link to the talk by Steven Janssen featuring the work of 15 different artists.  He did a great job describing each artists' work.

Interested in Acquiring Artwork?

Although the gallery is closed, I am still selling my work to offset my studio rent and other expenses.  Now is a great time to buy a piece for your home or office.  Not only will it feed your soul to live with an original painting, but it will also support me in my work.

Let me help you find the perfect piece to suit your home, and if I don't have the perfect one, I can make a custom piece in YOUR size and colors. If you would be interested in learning more about acquiring one of my pieces, send me an email.  

I am sending love out to all of you. 


PS - Please forward/share this email with others who might enjoy it! 

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Contact me to make an appointment

After the Pandemic, Visit the Gallery/Studio Wednesday-Saturday 11-3
Anne Bedrick Fine Art
68895 Perez Road, Suite I-26, Cathedral City, CA 92234

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