"Considerations 2020", "Thinking 2020"
Lisa Johnson’s creative journey over the past year has faced many ups and downs and challenges due to the pandemic. It was a feeling of newfound freedom for Johnson that emboldened her to paint solely for herself, but with an added sense of isolation that left her with what she describes as somber introspection.
On this introspection, Johnson writes “With all the uncertainty of this past year --not just with the pandemic but with the political chaos in general and the worries for the future, I often find myself questioning my purpose. What to paint? How to paint? Why to paint? Certainly I've been more aware of my own mortality.”
PUBLIC ART REFLECTIONS
"Green Museum", "Girl and Dog in Lucid Shadbolt Dream"
Geoff Farnsworth’s 2020 experience has involved adjusting to a new way of life in many different ways, and this has been a driving force in the paintings he has created over the past year.
At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Farnsworth began creating art from home after leaving his shared studio space in downtown St. Catherines, first turning his attention to the impact of the pandemic on public art spaces. As galleries and museums continue to tackle with closures and other obstacles due to the pandemic, the ways in which we show and observe art has confronted several challenges. Farnsworth began his exploration of the loss of these viewing experiences through paintings of figures within public art spaces. In Farnsworth's words, “As covid continued and I kept on with this theme, it took on more of a fantasy element with not being able to actually be in public art spaces any longer. And with being more isolated from people. I felt more of a longing for these spaces, and reminiscent.”
As he spent more time at home, Farnsworth began working on portraits of friends, authors and directors that he had been spending time with over quarantine, as well as of George Floyd in the midst of the BLM protests. For Farnsworth, these works represent “a way for me to connect with people and people's energy over this time of separation”. Currently Fansworth focus has turned towards incorporating more surreal and fantastical elements in his paintings that reflect on nature, inspired by the many walks he has taken during the pandemic.
“The Speechmaker”, “The Princess”
Jill Price’s EMBODIMENTS are an ongoing body of mixed media collages that visually explore the material connections between humans, non-humans and their surroundings. Started during the first few months of COVID, they are a continuation of Price’s explorations into unmaking as a creative method. Each work is composed of earlier drawings, prints and text that often work to map past personal experiences and emotions in an abstract way. Compartmentalized, severed, layered, contrasting, and at times intersecting, each figure points to the complexity of our day to day existence and the archetypes that may inform or determine the way we move through space or inhabit place.
Often a visual response to the political, social, economic and racial issues being broadcasted daily over the radio, social media and television, each figure emerged intuitively as a way to offer Price company, comfort and hope while isolated from family and friends.