About this Series
Viral Load, Bearing Witness to the Pandemic is a series of ten mixed media drawings on canvas, centered on the emotional consequences of cumulative, collective loss experienced during the CoVid-19 pandemic: sickness and death, social isolation, economic insecurity, disrupted routines, delayed or canceled life events. There is much to grieve.
Elizabeth Kubler-Ross’s work on death and dying identified five stages of grief: Denial, Anger, Depression, Bargaining, Acceptance. To this list I would add: Loneliness. Fear. Frustration. Anxiety. Confusion. Exhaustion. The figures in this series are positioned in gestures that signal these emotional states.
Larger-than-life-size nude bodies wear the minimal “personal protective gear” of mask and gloves. Arc lines encase the cropped, isolated figures in webs that visually link each canvas in the series to the others. Translucent acrylic washes and splatters suggestive of infectious transmission provide muted layers of color over gestural marks of charcoal and graphite.
Psychology shows that when the emotionally reactive, instinctive mind is triggered, information processing and rational thinking are difficult to maintain. Partially dissolved, confusing and incomplete text snippets of the pathophysiology, symptoms and complications of CoVid-19, along with schematic diagrams of the SARS CoV-2 virus responsible for this devastating disease, merge imagery of contemporary “data overload” with the evocative body language of emotional trauma and physical distress.
On a personal note: Before transitioning to a career in the arts, my professional background included medical training, with several years of hands-on experience caring for the sick and dying.