Artists can offer distraction, joy, escape – a full range of emotions for viewers to experience. Art during this time has allowed a unique perspective, a new form of expression and a network of support and healing across the art community as well as the wider world.
Artists can offer release from the relentless pressure of lockdown, by expressing feelings be it by movement, paint or song. The figure in the drawing is feeling the weight of unanswered questions, future possibilities and changes.
Artists can offer so many things now and at all times! A sense of connection with others, especially in times of crisis, is one of the most important things that we can offer, I believe. But also, art offers escape, entertainment, inspiration, hope – all things that we need right now.
I truly believe that artists have a responsibility to talk about the world around us in our work, especially in times of crisis and struggle. We have the opportunity to elevate important conversations and help our audience make sense of the difficulty of the moment. Art can comfort or provoke. It can make one feel seen and challenge the mindset of another. The work we are creating, while extremely relevant right now, will also be important to look back on as part of a larger narrative of the time. Someday this art will shed a light on the complex, layered experience of living through this time in history.
Artists offer a visual language to narrate the nonsensical, unexplainable, and universally burdensome experience of humanity. We give voice to the voiceless and offer comfort through visual connectivity.
During my career, I have sought to cross the border of beauty to claim art as a support for reflection on the problems of today’s society, an art with a conscience, art to make people think; And now I think this makes more sense than ever. Art is an exercise in communication and as such must be able to convey the ideas and concerns of the artist. Concern about the crisis is irretrievably filtered into the artist’s work. Artists must be able to put in front of the viewer through our works the issues that concern us and not only in crises art must try to communicate, raise awareness, reflect and excite.
I don’t think the purpose of art changes during crises. Art is there to thrill, provoke and comfort emotionally. Only during a crisis, when other impressions are limited, people see art more intensely and find refuge in it.
Artists can be the vehicle that offers some respite for the fear and loneliness which accompany being sequestered in one’s home and the feelings of isolation. It’s been helpful to me as an artist to participate in online art shows. I miss the enjoyment of the gallery openings that happen with myself as all as other artists. Viewing art is a thought-provoking experience to most people. The depictions allow us to enjoy and critique, the bright colors often cheer one up when they are depressed. Encouraging others who perhaps are not artists, to do something creative spreads the creative seed around the fields of our lives!
My current body of work speaks directly to the global crisis we all currently face. As an American, I am especially cognizant of how our leaders are responding to this crisis. I originally titled this group ‘Divided We Fall’ as it is impossible not to notice the division present in our country. However, in a desire to take a more optimistic approach, I titled my exhibition ‘United We Stand.’ I want to emphasize a unity amongst us, regardless of party, ethnicity, race, religion, and gender. My work observes the pitfalls of allowing division to thrive and grow amongst a people. However, I shine a light on these things so that we as human beings can choose not to participate in this sowing of division.
Artists’ role in society is to provide their community with joy, interaction and inspiration. They push communities to engage thoughtfully and make steps towards social progress. When an artist’s work expresses a common truth that speaks to the viewer they have done their job. Art can change opinions, instill values and translate experiences globally.