When we look back at our lives two years ago, no one could imagine all that would take place in the world. At the start of the pandemic, as populations were learning how to live a different version of life, we each took up new or different rituals and hobbies to cope with the uncertainty of the world around us.
The love I already had for baking and cooking for my family, turned into therapy and an escape from the news, infection rates and injustices.
Sean Nixon, an artist and educator, started drawing his impressions of our changing circumstances which has now culminated in “Drawing Covid: A Story, Two Years and Counting,” now available for viewing at the Unison Arts Center in New Paltz.
The time capsule that Nixon created of the past two years is incredibly relatable. It will make you laugh, cry and take pause of everything we have gone through and are still going through.
“Home Office +” brings the viewer to the time where boundaries were blurred and people were making it work however they could. There were no “normal spaces” to conduct business. The pen and ink drawing depicts a woman on a Zoom meeting in the laundry room, dressed professionally except for her slippers.
After the murder of George Floyd, Nixon created “Look in the Mirror America.” This piece is literal and beautifully simple in its depiction of our country. It personifies mainland America, looking in the mirror, and it is broken. The country, which we always want to see as united, has become increasingly polarized and is breaking apart.
Unlike the majority of the work, which are on white backgrounds with black lines, this piece is on a black background with white lines. This makes the piece more dynamic and compels the viewer to examine our country in terms of race, divisiveness and so many other issues.
Nixon reminds viewers of funny moments throughout the past two years, as well. “Bernie, how’d you get in here?” portrays someone laying in their bed and thinking of the iconic Bernie Sanders photo from the presidential inauguration – in his chair with arms crossed and mittens on. “This one was a lot of fun because I think I got the mittens,” Nixon stated. “The meme was literally everywhere and I just kept thinking ‘get out of my head’.”
We also remember the promise of July 4, 2021 with the hope of being free from masks and optimistically getting back to picnics and barbecues with extended family and friends. In, “Not Free Yet,” Nixon draws the Statue of Liberty draped in masks, as well as wading in a sea of masks with fireworks overhead. He states, “My hope is that looking at these “snapshots” will give you a chance to pause and reflect on the endurance it took to live through these past two years and that you give yourself a pat on the back!”
On April 23, all are welcome to join in the process by creating a drawing, poem, or statement on the wall.
If you go
What: Drawing Covid: A Story, Two Years and Counting
Where: Unison Arts Center, 68 Mountain Rest Road, New Paltz
Dates: March 13 through April 24
Hours: Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday & Sunday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Melissa Dvozenja-Thomas is the director of development and marketing for Arts Mid-Hudson. Art From Here appears every other week Sunday. Contact her at 845-454-3222 or [email protected]
This article originally appeared on Poughkeepsie Journal: New Paltz art show explores COVID-19’s ongoing story, legacy