Invisible Spreading: Virus and Art
In an earlier post (Waiting for This to End: My “Pandemic days” Project), I mentioned how at the beginning of the pandemic creating new art felt superfluous and I was stuck. I wondered what the role of an artist should be during a crisis as extraordinary as the one we were, and still are, living through–when science, politics, and the economy seem to be the only topics relevant to current challenges. I think of artists as poets, dreamers, inspirers, and communicators: the voice of conscience, of reason and at the same time of un-reason–the voice of the free soul, present in all of us, which makes life worth living. I needed art for when the pandemic was over, but I also craved it to keep me focused on the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel while we are transitioning through long stretches of uncertainty. Thus, I did what I love, and I painted.
As I typically do, I reflected on emotions, in this case, those that the COVID-19 pandemic was bringing to my mood and my psyche. Layer after layer of oil media, I was able to produce a series of paintings depicting biomorphic shapes that could be thought of as islands, maps or cells of organisms. My academic training in biochemistry came into play, accentuated by the continuous bombardment of scientific news and updates. By adding a variety of mark-making, including dots, these biomorphic shapes seem to be adapting to internal or external factors that pollute or alter their nature. I like to think that I am straddling this duality in my imagery: micro (cells of organisms) and macro (maps/islands) as metaphors for the lability of Life and of our individual reality.
For this Pandemic Series, I worked with oil-based paint. I have already mentioned my concern about the climate crisis, which for me creates a personal dilemma regarding the use of new canvases, fresh from the art store, for my paintings. Therefore, this series was done on canvases that I repurposed from those I had found in second-hand stores before the pandemic.
Copyright © 2020 Adriana G. Prat
Adriana G. Prat is an academically trained scientist from Argentina, that after moving to the USA became a visual artist. Her boldly colored and layered, oil- or acrylic-based non-representational paintings are produced during a process akin to meditation. She has shown at open studios, galleries, alternative spaces, and museums, in both Argentina and the greater Boston area, and, through a recent residency in Iceland. When not at her Cambridge studio or traveling, Adriana welcomes visitors to a shared studio in the Boston SOWA art district.