The Covid pandemic reshapes our lives. It continues to strip down our existence, separating us from loved ones and exposing weaknesses in our system of governance and our political leadership. It demonstrates the devastating impact of the nation's grave social injustices. Systemic racism and socioeconomic disparity put oppressed peoples at greater risk for Covid-19.
Then, on May 25, as many of us bunkered inside our homes, we witnessed the cold-blooded murder of George Floyd. This videotaped tragedy and the eruption of Black Lives Matter protests across the nation revealed the depth and breadth of racism in America. It is a contagion every bit as present and virulent as the coronavirus. In the face of both existential challenges – pandemic and racism – we can only recover through radical social change.
The images and words of UMVA artists in this online
exhibition surface from the isolation and compression of life in the pandemic.
The works express personal and universal struggles. There are abstract and
figurative pieces and a variety of media from
painting and mixed media to photography and digital work. We hope you
will plumb the depth of these highly personal interpretations and that one or
more of the pieces will touch your spirit. Last, we believe community and
society is the source of great art and we dedicate this work to
A portion of any art sale from this show will be donated to Maine Medical Center for Covid-19 protective measures.
Note: If you are interested in purchasing any of this art, please email UMVAPortland@gmail.com with the name of the artist and work. The artist will contact you.
this book will disappear
Since I had been making walnut ink and since several friends had posted pictures they had made using ink they had made by soaking copper in vinegar and since the copper ink was such a beautiful color, I made some copper ink. I started filling an old book with copper ink experiments. One day I thought that the vinegar ink might be bad to use on acid free paper. I looked it up on line and found that copper ink was the bane of the existence of restorers. Eventually it eats right through the paper.
I just kept doing it anyway. It seemed that the fragility of the books future was just what I had been feeling about the fragility of my future, about the future of the world that I was used to. The fact that I had started working on the book upside down seems fitting too.
So I named the book “this book will disappear.” Eventually I would like to collaborate with more artists and mount a disappearing art show. This is one page of the book.
9”x4.5” April 13, 2020 $250
Sheltering-In-Place is teaching me three great principles of life: Love, Exile and Suffering, as evidenced in Albert Camus’ The Plague.
Love - Every act of creation, whether it be art or otherwise, is an act of love. It is also a revolt against the human condition and is an ethical, nonviolent expression. It allows us to put our stories next to one another and provides the unity we use to fight this virus as opposed to the evilness it has presented.
Exile - This pandemic has created an alternate reality that has become the new normal. As an artist I cannot tolerate reality; yet I need it. Time (waiting in this sheltering-in-place phase and for this next re-opening phase, etc.) has made me feel divorced from any society I belong to. I have been individuated and isolated; separate from even myself. I have been banished to exist only in my home.
Suffering - I suffer each and every day with this lock-down, my freedom has been thwarted and my mind deadened by un-stimulation. The pandemic is just accelerating and necessitating human growth to incorporate the separateness, isolation and loneliness that are the conditions of this Twenty-First Century. This pandemic does have people rise up above themselves and face a challenge and fighting this plague is a matter of human decency but for those who enjoy it, they love war.
When will this plague be declared officially over? Will it disappear as mysteriously as it showed up?
Digital Mixed Media Limited edition (25) Variable (from 11 x 14" up to 30 x 40")
2020 - variable pricing ($50 to $400 paper print or gallery wrapped canvas)
Ann Tracy (°1951, Waltham MA, United States) is an artist who works in a variety of media including installation, digital art, photography, painting, encaustics, video and theatre (actor, director, playwright). After leaving NE in 1968 and decades of living in Colorado, Wisconsin and California, Tracy now calls Falmouth, Maine home with her husband, two dogs and cat. She is a member of the Union of Maine Artists, Professional Women Photographers, Monotype Guild of New England, Digital Arts Guild, and Webists International Artists. Tracy's studio is located within Open Concepts Studios and Gallery in Portland Maine.
"Covid Wheel" has an interesting provenance as this digital alchemy is based on a hand pulled monotype along with a digital medieval print which could have been made during the time of plagues. Together they make an apt image for these days (June 2020) and also allude to Fortuna's Wheel. "In medieval and ancient philosophy the Wheel of Fortune, or Rota Fortunae, is a symbol of the capricious nature of Fate. The wheel belongs to the goddess Fortuna who spins it at random, changing the positions of those on the wheel: some suffer great misfortune, others gain windfalls. This IS however, not an excuse for the pandemic of racism in this country. We must smash white supremacy as well as the patriarchy."
Tracy's fine art has been exhibited from Japan to Maui to New York City to Spain and Budapest, Hungary. She was a 2014, 2015 and 2016 finalist in the Julia Margaret Cameron competition and was invited to exhibit at the 3rd Photographic Biennale in Malaga, Spain, as well as the 2016 4th Photographic Biennale in Berlin. Check out her blog - http://anntracy.blogspot.com/ .
encaustic 12”x12” 2020 $250
Noun; disrepair: poor condition of a structure due to neglect
The pandemic proved that one of the richest countries in the world failed to provide good health care for its people. The most vulnerable were the the minorities ,the undocumented, incarcerated, homeless, elderly, the economically fragile, to name more than a few populations. They were disproportionately affected. Many that worked lost health care when the economy shut down. Food insecurity worsened. The CEOs continued to make money and the greed at the top continued.
The system is broken and we all must work toward equality for ALL, not a few.
Watercolor on paper 30”x22” 2020
$300 unframed/$450 framed
I find solace and refuge in nature. It makes me feel my most
human. There are a lot of beautiful birds where I live. The female human form
embodies beauty to me. I find sanctuary in beauty.
Mixed Media Collage 24”x 12” June 2020 NFS
This collage expresses my
state of mind that seems like floating, but heavier. To me it feels like the
dislocation in this time of pandemic, the phantom crouching over the
vegetation, the remnants of confining borders and formality barely containing
the energy. All our voices are crying in the wilderness. In real life, the
garden we started has started to yield a bit and like everyone, I am waiting
(im)patiently for the crops.
I was already working on this collage when I re-discovered Yeats’ prescient poem, “The Second Coming,” where I got my title, “Widening Gyre.” Its most famous lines:
“The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all
conviction while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.”
Christine Sullivan was born
in Boston and educated in Connecticut, where her first student trip to Europe
inspired her to travel … and travel more. Travel snapshots evolved into a
passion for observing/picturing nature interacting with architecture, ancient
and modern. In 2005, she began making collages in earnest, and sometimes with
her photos. She saw the light and moved to Portland from
Boston many moons ago.
Are you there?
oil on canvas 23” x 35.5” framed 2020 $650
The pandemic has forced tens of millions of people indoors to shelter in place while the virus runs its course. While virtual communications platforms have become ubiquitous to fill the void, the question is Are you there? The 2” x 2” electronic image of a person on Zoom could be coming from upstairs, next door, across the country or the other side of the world. This painting is inspired by the physical separation of people and the absence of physical interaction. The subdued palate is meant to capture the heaviness of the moment.
archival pigment print 8”x12” $220
Man is a social animal… we built our civilization by massing together for shelter, protection and exchange. We hunger for social contact. When an infectious disease comes along that is spread through personal contact, like Covid-19, the survival instinct kicks in and humans stop congregating for their own protection. When we take shelter, social ties are broken, we retreat to our own shelters until it is “safe” to come out again.. Such is the case today as we try to wait out this deadly pandemic. There is a feeling of being trapped..
The social web fractured, we begin to encounter a different kind of adversary, that of isolation and the feelings of loneliness and disconnection…we long for the social interaction we were accustomed to… and without it, we begin to feel trapped. It’s like the machinery of communication has broken down, and there is this feeling of loss, as if we are stranded in our own shelters… Disconnected… it’s like an amnesia... with the masks, the faces are forgotten...it’s getting blurry. What we are left with is some vague recollections and a few faint numbers and marks scrawled on the wall…
Oil on wood panel 24” x 36” 2020 $2600
Over the past 70 years I have made well over ten thousand drawings and paintings in many different styles, from realism to abstract expressionism. At this point my painting is almost totally improvisational. I start out with nothing in mind other than to shape the elements and principles of design into a new and exciting result. Sometimes it is strictly nonrepresentational. More often it becomes oddly narrative, which I may or may not understand. That’s okay with me. In the end I want to be as surprised and intrigued as anyone else by what I see.
During this pandemic, I pulled out an unresolved 2008 nonrepresentational painting and began reworking it. Lo and behold, it became a strange, frightened, critical-care nurse in scary, personal-protective equipment on the right facing ubiquitous patients caught up in a tainted fog of contaminated water droplets on the left.
Greg Mason Burns
Oil on Canvas 24” x 36” 2020 $2,220
Burns is a conceptual painter who highlights emotional unknowns, with
particular attention to societal pressure, adventure, fear, frustration,
stress, and chaos.
His current project uses Recaption Theory to focus on the “understanding gap” between the mass media’s message and the audience’s understanding of reality. Instead of treating this “gap” as an academic concept, he imagines it as an unexplored territory. He paints what this gap / territory might look like if it were a real place, such as the people, buildings, objects, streets, ideas, etc. This “gap” is the space between what the media tells the audience is true versus what the audience believes is actually true.
With this specific work, Burns is imagining what the destination might be for those who live in this gap / territory during a pandemic.
Digital Photograph 11x14 2020 $75.00
Covid-19 has changed everything, from how we greet each other to what’s on our bucket list. We all are fixated on washing away deadly germs. Mask wearing is the norm at every turn. As a covid survivor I am well aware of the isolation of both my husband and myself. It becomes a “touchless” or “distance” world for all. Art has been much affected as most museums and galleries have been shut down. Now most sales are over the internet, so you don’t see the real value of a piece of art. Most gatherings have been shut down. I am a stay at home person only to go out with my mask and sanitizer to the grocery store.
Janice L. Moore
Fine. You? (In View of our Unwelcome & indiscriminate Visitor)
18” x 24” x .75” Oil on Canvas 2009-2020
This piece, started over a decade ago, became a sudden repository during a difficult time; a space for raw feelings that had nowhere else to go. Painting flames felt cathartic when no words sufficed and no truth was available. Once I started, I realized it was only for me. After my angst found a place to be and got recorded, I put the painting away.
I pulled it out when the pandemic began. I have been largely confined to my home for almost four months so far. It looks very different now. The pain and fear is now collective; shared between all of us. When I feel overwhelmed, I check in to see how everyone in my world is doing, then I paint more flames
Point of Departure
Mixed Media 38x50 May 2020 $1000.00
am a painter and photographer. My piece
combines figuration and abstraction. I like bold color and sensuous lines
tinged with absurdest humor.
Jo Ann Bianchi
Mixed Media Collage (acrylic, stained paper) 12”x12” 2020 $300
As an expressionistic mixed media artist my creative process is stimulating and frustrating and a direct reflection of real life. I continue to expand my style by experimenting with the organic fluidity of various media (watercolor, oil, acrylic, collage, and printing inks) in my quest to capture the essence of the figure, urban or natural landscape in recognizable or abstract form. Infectious II is a visual expression of the figure in its environment besieged by an invasive agent.
Jo Ann Bianchi was born in the New York Metropolitan area and began drawing at a very young age. Bianchi is currently a member of the Gainesville Fine Arts Association (Florida), the Monotype Guild of New England, and the Union of Maine Visual Artists. Her work has appeared in juried and member shows in Florida, Georgia, Maine, New Hampshire, and Texas. She maintains a studio in Florida and Maine.
sheltered in place 2020
Digital Print on Archival Paper 10x12 Winter 2020
I have exhibited photographs across New England and the
Mid-Atlantic. Several of the exhibitions were solo shows including one at the
Hunterdon Art Museum in New Jersey in 2010. I have also curated art shows, one
in New York City's Soho district and others in New Jersey, Massachusetts and
Maine. My writing is published in professional and literary journals, magazines
Gloved Hands of Kindness
Monotype 16” x 11.5” unframed 2020 $200
Come together. Reach out hands of kindness, of comfort as we shelter in place.
“Jim Crow” Never Left
Zoom screen shot and iPhone 8”x10”
I have been social distancing since March. Not being able to see my children and grandchildren has been the most difficult part of this pandemic time. Added to that has been the worry about their health and their wellbeing.
As a portrait photographer, I wanted the image for this show to represent not only the act of sheltering in place, but also the awareness of one of the most crucial times in history, as we are witness to or participating in a revolution to finally bring about justice and equality for Black Lives around the world, but most importantly in this country.
I chose to use the tools that have become a part of my social distancing, Zoom meetings and the iPhone. My granddaughter, in Charlotte, NC, Penelope Mae, agreed to be my subject. Her mother, Paige, became my collaborator, as she positioned Penelope and held the iPhone. I controlled the screen shot.
The photography of Gordon Parks, during the “Jim Crow” era, was the inspiration for this portrait. It is meant to portray the correlation between the Jim Crow era and what is happening today.
What to Paint When Covid Cancels Your Trip to Spain
Oil on Canvas 16" x 12" March 25, 2020 $800
My summer subject is the landscape of the Blue Hill Peninsula where I paint en plein air in oil and watercolor. In my winter studio in Portland I paint landscapes remembered from summer sojourns and floral studies to keep me grounded in painting from life. Whether out-of-doors or in the studio, my interests are the same: strong composition utilizing pattern and repetition; simplicity of form; a balance of light and dark; and luminous color. My influences are Henri Matisse, John Singer Sargent, Arthur Dove, Edward Hopper, Fairfield Porter, Nell Blaine, Elaine de Kooning, and the Spanish artist Joaquin Sorolla.
In March 2020 I had planned a trip to Spain to see the
museum in Madrid dedicated to Sorolla's work. Instead, I went to Trader Joe's,
bought tulips, and painted out some of my anger and frustration.
Little Bright Spots
This series of tiny paintings came about spontaneously amidst other work I had ongoing in the studio when this global pandemic descended upon us in early spring. I started posting these “little bright spots” on Instagram, thinking that others might appreciate these small moments of hope in such unnerving times much as I did. I put a grouping of 4 together for this show, to create a larger dialog of hope. I don’t post every day, but the work will not stop in my studio until we are back to some sense of normalcy, which could be a long time.
LOOK IN THE KEYHOLE
Layered Graphic on Paper 22 x 30" $800 Print: $250
What happens when a woman expresses rage?
My drawings seek to confront the notion of a woman’s appropriate behavior in society, and how the boundaries have shifted since the 19th century.
“Look in the Keyhole” in particular expresses frustration and an extreme form of “cabin fever” at being unable to go out for months on end. In the solitude and privacy of the home, I feel I can express these universal feelings of helplessness at world events.
My distorted self-portraits in Victorian-era costume are drawn from a side of my emotional landscape that I have rarely let myself explore – an angry, contorted, and ugly place. Though drawn in the traditional medium of graphite on paper, they counter the ancient concept of portraiture as flattery and beautiful resemblances.
Exploring feminine rage through line, mark, shadow, and form, I discover a certain beauty in the making, and deep emotional connection to the subject, where the mask of perceived acceptability is lifted, and a new, more authentic beauty, in expressions normally suppressed, is revealed. It is my hope that these portraits let me embrace, in a new light, this dark, angry side of myself.
Acrylic, and Flashe on panel $1000
Unlike many diseases for which science and technology have created treatments, therapeutics, and cures, Covid-19 remains an outlier. Life in our modern world feels Neo-Medieval—fragile, dangerous, and uncertain. In our pandemic era, reframing the Memento Mori theme seems appropriate.
In my recent work, I am thinking about Yeats who said, “Sex and death are the only things that can interest a serious mind.” This work places a cast of characters with IMRT and CT scans—medical technological imagery—in a palette of cancer chemo, color compositions, reframing the Memento Mori theme. In this series, I also aim to express characteristics of our uncertain era: anxiety, complexity, disease, and contradiction.
I am a painter, printmaker, writer, and professor Emeritus of Purchase College, State University of New York, where I taught painting and drawing in the School of Art+Design. I earned a BFA at Cranbrook Academy of Art and an MFA at The Ohio State University. I am currently writing a book on perception, drawing, and painting. After moving to Maine in 2015, I relocated my studio to Westbrook. I have exhibited widely and in Maine at Cove Street Arts, Greenhut Galleries, and Jonathan Frost Gallery, Lupine Gallery, among others. My work is in numerous private, corporate, and museum collections.
For more information: http://michaeltorlen.com @michaeltorlen
mixed media on paper 30 x 36" $450
This piece took a long time to come to life. I began painting it while on an artists’ retreat on Islesboro a few years ago. The lighthearted colors, textures and branching forms were inspired by the environment of woods, ocean, dazzling sun and fresh air. Back in the studio it took on a new direction, floating spheres appeared. A number of times I felt that it was nearly complete but knew there was something missing. I set it aside.
Returning home from a trip, I was confronting a sense of separation, isolation and despair I had witnessed and felt. Disconnected and alone, it was as if we were all in our own little bubbles, unaware that we were surrounded by others, just as isolated. Could we not simply look out, see the others, so close, reach out, and pop the imagined barriers?
This painting emerged, spheres became bubbles of floating isolation.
Since the quarantine began the painting has taken on a new life, a symbol of this time, reminding me that the anxiety and uncertainty can be overwhelming, the feelings are real, the enclosure feels solid, but within my grasp is community and solace. We are not separate.
Ink, maker, pastel and pencil on paper 19 x 24" 7/7/2020 $400.00
In the mist of the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the basic foundations of everyday life have radically changed. In the occurrence of schools and industries closing down, global communities have been faced with the stress of trying successfully to navigate the tasks of daily life at home. Although this is an unprecedented circumstance, I have heard from news reports that this state of forced hibernation has, in many ways, made families come together. Due to the fact that schools and businesses are unavailable, families have been able to engage in personal activities and heart to heart conversations that were extremely hard to construct in our world before the outbreak of this pandemic.
In my piece In the Mist of COVID-19:Remembering What Needs to be Treasured, the formation of the COVID virus is displayed in its formidable immensity.
In the sphere of
this negative energy, however, is the serene image of a mother holding her
infant child. I wanted to show these contrasting themes of distress and peace
within In the Mist of COVID-19…, as a
way of showing viewers what is being valued in the onset of the pandemic:
family, a presence that had in some cases been long rejected in the societal
burdens of importance in a pre-COVID-19 world.
COVID Self Portrait
10x8" oil on linen panel 2020 $800
I am a physician at Mercy Hospital. This Pandemic has been very stressful. My ears and nose hurt at the end of the day. After work one day, I went down to my basement studio, and put on this cloth mask that my neighbor made me. It’s colorful and softer than the hospital ones. I stood in front of a mirror and painted myself. I used 3 colors plus white. I think the eyes tell a lot!
Mixed Media on Stonehenge Paper 22 x 30 $1,800
Born and raised in the Great Depression; veteran WWII, & Korea; GI Bill liberal arts education, while enduring a middle class life style in NYC ('40s-'50s); tasting 'halcyon days' in France, Germany, Spain and elsewhere; in Maine during the dynamic '60s, folk and blues at The Boar's Head Coffee House; then as a 'change agent' in D.C. in the “Great Society” and “Nixon” years; founder ('87) of the non-profit Danforth Gallery; artistically straddled Maine and Mexico ('89-'12) while helping other talented individuals to have an art venue; working independently at his artist passion for over thirty years.
I resided and painted in Mexico over three decades bridging the 20th and 21st centuries. I returned to Maine in 2012, where I established as a goal for my paintings in Maine to attempt to express Maine's true essence. For I paint 'Maine' as unforgiving, the land, sea and sky as uncompromising, demanding your daily awareness, and testing your ability to live with nature as a constant in your life. A reviewer commented: “These works all seem to have a topological quality but with an expressionist feel. There is an underlying force—sort of a life force—in many of these pieces. His treatment of Maine “landscapes” with innovative techniques gives Salazar's work a real dynamism.”
A nonagenarian, but still painting, my work continues to be created as a series: COVID-19 is 10 paintings. They represent my artistic COVID-tale in abstract formulation with figurative emphasis, a moment in a time of crisis, on “spaceship earth.”
Susan L Smith
Hand made ink wheatpasted to plywood
Guerrilla installation at Portland Museum of Art June 22, 2020
The pandemic has hit hardest those least able to defend themselves against it. While I was able to transition to teach from home, millions of others were forced by necessity to go to work every day or were among the millions who lost their livelihoods. All the inequities that are part of everyday life across the country came into focus. I witnessed issues of access to medical care and educational opportunity, student debt, and a system which holds itself in place with military and police violence. These images, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner and Tamir Rice are four faces and lives we have come to know, amidst so many other Americans of color who have lost their lives to senseless violence.
Oil Diptych 20 x 32 $4,000
My painting “Mercy
Quest” depicts an angel form floating
between the planets, twirling in the sky with her arms raised in question,
searching for some type of answer of hope and mercy during our troubled
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