Plan P: The Pandemic Panorama
For more than a year we have been confined to our studios and homes, concentrating on our projects and getting prepared for Senior Open Studios. We have been affixed to the “looking glass” of endless screen-time as it replaced face-to-face interactions with friends, family, mentors and our community engagements. To add to the distress, we have experienced reports and images of explosive civil unrest and hate crimes in the United States exposing our democratic institutions to destabilizing threats. We have gone through the most viral global pandemic since the outbreak of the Spanish flu and have felt the temperature rise on America’s “cold civil war”. Our emotions have swayed between fear, anxiety, loneliness, exhaustion and numbing depression. Yet, despite these severe drawbacks and uncertainties we have remained steadfast.
The work you will see speaks to the level of commitment each student has shown under these exceptional circumstances. The many themes we face in society at this current moment in time are, as always, reflected in art: racial injustice, feminist inequality, man-made and natural disasters, climate change, social isolation, as well as technological advances and indelible memories of other times.
Through the use of myriad materials such as paint on canvas, silkscreen, drawing, etching, ceramics, video and the digital arts, photography, wood, metal and even living organisms, our graduating seniors have converted their homes into studios, their kitchens into laboratories and their backyards into performance spaces. With an ability to improvise and work with what is available, we have optimized and transformed space and materials, despite limited social interaction. We have nevertheless, created outstanding work.
As the emergence of light slips beyond darkening skies, liquid rainbows appear in our minds, heralding a return to what we may expect to experience as a “new normal”, whatever that may be. The arts and their institutions have endured much during the past fourteen months, but like a butterfly emerging from a cocoon, our lives will be changed as we move on to next endeavors as creative beings. As we have well learned, we are all in this together, where geographic boundaries are mute to the swiftly evolving conditions of the natural world and our embeddedness in it. The world is a skin, a sheath, and we are just temporary organisms living within it. Let us move forward towards peace and justice for all creatures and remember that creativity is a salve to a damaged planet and our consciousness, but less we forget that it must be applied. Best wishes and deep felicitations to all of you, on behalf of the faculty, staff and administration. We wish you our deep congratulations. We will never forget the courage you have displayed.
BFA Fine Arts. School of Visual Arts, NYC