Paintings made during the 2020 Covid19 Lockdown
I returned to my studio from a trip to the UK for an exhibition in March 2020 just as the world went into lockdown. The day I returned Serbia announced that it would be closing its borders indefinitely to slow the spread of the Corona Virus.
As human activity slowed for the first time in modern history I became fascinated with the stories of nature reclaiming urban spaces, animals roaming city streets, and the air clearing in China and India. Here in Belgrade the grass verges, normally kept strimmed and neat sprang to life with wild poppies and grasses. There was an unusual silence in the city at night and I could hear the birds singing and the noise of the trees.
At the same time I was listening to a podcast called For the Wild and heard an episode by a Storyteller named Michael Meade - This introduced me the poetry of the Sufi mystic Rumi.
I am very inspired and interested in ancient wisdom - particularly Taoism but I was not familiar with Sufism.
Rumi's poetry, combined with the increased wildlife and the experience of confinement caused by curfew and lockdown lead to a new collection - bold, dark and dynamic group of paintings which I titled - Abandon.
I am so close, I may look distant.
So completely mixed with you, I may look separate.
So out in the open, I appear hidden.
So silent, because I am constantly talking with you.
Each painting in the collection has it's own story, some are about letting go of the known experiences of modernity - In Other Worlds speaks of our need to understand that we are all connected and as long as we seek to alienate ourselves from Nature we are doomed to a life half lived. Danse Macabre is a call to live fully and to recognise that we are all in this dance together.
All of these paintings are a celebration of nature and a call to connect to our inner wilderness, to find ways to abandon the idea that we are somehow more than nature and reconnect to ancient wisdom. Reconnect to the knowledge that we are a part of Nature and the further we remove ourselves from it. The less we are alive.
A Year On
This collection continues to grow - I work on themes simultaneously and though the intense period of focus on this series has shifted - there are paintings which come to me that are deeply connected to this experience, this creative inspiration.
In all my work I want to leave a space in the painting and the story for people to connect, to add their own narrative to the piece and find meaning. I believe that art is a living thing, that it gives the viewer and the artist a portal to something outside of the known world. I hope that my paintings are an interruption to the noise of modern life and a place to reflect and find yourself anew.
We are all here for the briefest moments, and so we may as well enjoy the dance. Connect, create and be wild.
I will leave you with a line from another wonderful poet - Mary Oliver. Excerpt from The Summer Day
Tell me, what else should I have done? Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon? Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?
Thank you for reading - If you are interested in any of the works listed in this post please get in touch via the studio email.