In the Time of Corona: The Gossamer Veil

By Tanya Hayes Lee | July 22, 2020

Two days after the first case of Covid-19 was diagnosed in Washington state on January 21, 2020, my husband of 25 years was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He passed away on February 22, six days before the first Coronavirus death in the U.S. was reported. In early March, a few days after I returned home from Arizona to Cambridge, the lockdown began in Massachusetts.

Death swept into my life with no warning and with a finality and persistence that is undeniable and completely disorienting; many of the principles and assumptions by which I lived are no longer valid. It is impossible to separate my personal loss from the universal heartbreak that has overtaken the globe, where so many others will also struggle to find their place in the future.

My interpretation of this experience is a series of paintings (two shown below) that investigate the nature of the boundary between life and death, the gossamer veil between the living and the dead. The artwork explores a time/place that has been recognized by many religions since the beginnings of collective memory.

The paintings anticipate the moment when, as on All Hallows Eve, we can possibly reconnect with what we have lost. In each painting, the veil itself begins to dissolve in the hope that what seems so irretrievably absent today may once again somehow be present. And hope, right now in the time of Corona, is really all we have to go on.

The Veil #6, 20″ x 20″ x 1.5″. Oil on canvas.


The Veil #4, 24″ x 24″ x 1.5″. Oil on canvas.

The Veil #4, 24″ x 24″ x 1.5″. Oil on canvas.

Copyright © 2020 Tanya Hayes Lee
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