Universal Connection

By Sharon Oakes | August 27, 2020

Bill Oakes, my late husband, would have had a lot to say about the pandemic and the role of artists in helping people to process what COVID 19 has wrought on our collective psyche. Here are two examples of his work that are relevant to current times.

Bill painted “Ps 91:1” (the original 911 call) and the matching painting “Jerico” long before the pandemic and before September 11, 2001—the tragedy in New York City that many say these paintings remind them of. Both of these disasters could overwhelm us and make us feel hopeless and disconnected. Bill’s paintings, with their Biblical references, encourage us to ponder the possibility that there is a higher power at work. I envision the souls of those who were lost being drawn upward into the light of a life beyond this life. My hope is this concept will be a bit of comfort to those who have lost loved ones and those who fear death.


“Ps. 91:1”; printer’s ink on paper; 46.25″ x 25.25″ (2000)


“Jerico,” printer’s ink on paper, 42″ x 33″ (2000)

These paintings are part of a series of paintings Bill did that all have a central vortex, what I named a “gravitational pull.” In these surreal times, I’m seeing how so many of us are drawn together, through not only wanting freedom from fear and uncertainty, but also experiencing the need and desire for reconnection— from returning to a sense of normalcy to simply getting to be with others again. Until we are able to do that, at least we can connect through artistic expression and an acknowledgement of our shared human experience. We are all interconnected.

Copyright © 2020 Sharon Oakes
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  1. eugene galipeau on August 30, 2020 at 12:57 pm

    Bill was and still is a Creative Power. A very very good artist and a good friend.

    • Sharon Oakes on August 31, 2020 at 8:53 am

      It’s so nice of you to comment Gene! Thanks for you support – both of Bill’s art and this wonderful website!

  2. Denise Willette-Legg on November 2, 2020 at 10:19 pm

    Wow!! Such amazing work. September 11 immediately came to mind and then as I read your much appreciated thoughts Sharon, I learned I wasn’t alone and that he completed both before that even happened. September 11; a date that truly connected all of us. Gravitational pull is an excellent description! I can’t even imagine how long he worked on these… and Pandemonium! Incredible! Thank you for sharing these with us. Love you.

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