ART IN ISOLATION
Art in Isolation at GFAA touches upon a central paradox of modern Western thinking about art: we value individual creativity and think of the creative process as being intensely personal, but depend upon art to express our collective human nature. What happens to artmaking when that collectivity changes, disappears, or takes on new form? The theme of this show invites artists to reflect upon the various ways in which their practice has changed due to our unexpected collective isolation – itself a kind of paradox. A walk through the gallery reveals a range of responses in various media to this strange and unprecedented year; many of the pieces are characterized by a sense of quiet intensity and introspective mood; others reflect the political tumult of our present time and anxiety related to illness and loss. Abstract works absorb the viewer in personal emotional landscapes; photographs have a documentary nature of the new, often surreal reality of this year, while figures in representation are alone, often juxtaposed against a muted outside world. Objects and natural elements are viewed in large scale, reminding us that isolation can invite more intense contemplation. The incorporation of artist statements offers illuminating views of personal process, and reinforces our recognition that emotion is the backbone of much of what we see on display. I am grateful that this work has been collectively assembled; beyond the factual records and data of this period, it will be good to have a record of lived responses to this muted time. The contradictions of community and separation find a meeting ground in this Art in Isolation.
Claire Orenduff, PhD
Associate Professor of Art History
Santa Fe College