Subjects Close at Hand
As the pandemic approached one year, I found myself struggling to find subject matter that seemed relevant to the times and to me. Before Covid, I was painting subjects from the retail world. I took that experience and transitioned to painting pandemic-related topics. Several of these paintings were posted earlier on this site. The most recent five paintings are a continuation of that idea. The only difference is that I found the subject matter right in front of me. I did not leave my house for inspiration. I hope these paintings speak to the pandemic in a way that many people will be able to relate to. I certainly can.
WORK, MEET, PLAY
Work, Meet, Play speaks for itself. It conveys a common pandemic situation in a very relatable way. Everybody has been there. During a particular Zoom meeting, I saw the painting right in front of me. The boxes supplied the graphic element I like. I tried to populate each box with a different person in a unique setting. Each background was important in my selection decision. In a way, each box is its own little painting.
After finishing my last painting, Adapting to Our New Flattened Lives, I found it challenging to come up with images that I thought would be relevant. I wanted to continue with the idea of a Flattened Lives series. That is when the idea of creating Pandemic Selfie emerged. If everyone’s lives are flattened by this pandemic, then so is mine. I decided to represent my flattened self in a subtly defiant position with my arms crossed, suggesting that I will not let all this get to me. The mask clearly places the image in the present situation.
TO BE UNWRAPPED IN SPRING
To Be Unwrapped in Spring uses a concept I was previously working on, pre-pandemic, in the “Home Store” series. I wanted to use that visual imagery to convey the idea that we all need to cocoon for the long winter months. What better way to stay safe than to wrap ourselves up, put us on a shelf, and unwrap us when this is all over. Hopefully, in the spring of 2021.
BEAN SOUP TRIO AND PASTA COMFORT
Being cocooned in the house during this very snowy February, I focused on the things around me. One of the upsides of the pandemic is the rediscovery of how delicious, wholesome and comforting a bowl of bean soup can be. Using a bit of a mash-up technique, “Bean Soup Trio” is a painting that conveys those ideas. “Pasta Comfort” just visualizes what so many people have turned to for a warm, comfortable feeling during the pandemic–carbs. The design on the bowl adds interest and familiarity to the image. These paintings look good enough to eat.
Copyright © 2021 Bennett Gewirtz
Bennett Gewirtz lives in Marlboro, New Jersey. He graduated from SUNY Plattsburgh with a BA in Liberal Arts and did his graduate studies at Pratt Institute. About 10 years ago he started studying life drawing at the Art Students League of New York and continued for three years. He started painting five years ago and began the current Home Depot series three years ago. A graphic designer by trade for the past 30 years, he is now focusing more on his painting and drawing. His work has been accepted for juried and non-juried exhibits.