During the Covid pandemic of 2020, I created a series of paintings with an idea of exploring the possibilities of working with oilsticks, and further blind drawing.
I composed the first painting by drawing with my eyes closed, as has been my process for the last few years. The second composition was a blind copy of the first, and the third a blind copy of the second, and so on. For each painting, I looked at the previous one and made a blind copy of its composition, until I’d made 8 paintings.
While thus engaged, I observed that these “blind copies” were a parallel to the way information is relayed first by the media, then by people repeating what they’d read or heard. As in the game of “broken telephone” – in which participants gather in a circle and the first person whispers a message into the ear of the person next to them, who then whispers what they heard into the next person’s ear, and so on, until the whispered message comes full circle back to the initiator and is, of course, quite different from the original – the relayed covid-19 information was subject to change substantially from the original source.
Later, a friend observed that the main curved shapes in these paintings do not overlap, though they are connected to one another by thin lines and background shapes. In this way the paintings seem to mirror the human experience of social distancing and living in isolation, being connected to one another by thin lines of technology, and by communicating across the physical spaces between us.