Cut up the canvas.
In the spring of 2020, that's all I wanted to do. Cut up the canvas. I'd finished an abstract of an oil refinery on the Gulf coast, and I like it well enough. So why did I want to take a knife to it?
Before the pandemic tsunamied its way across the globe, I painted all the time. My hands-on, tactile therapy of odd experiments, beautiful accidents, hideous failures, and realized visions.
But--like you, I'd wager--lockdown smacked me into a kind of paralysis. Instead of reveling in the "extra time" to create Great Works of Art, any act of creation--painting, writing, music--felt frivolous in the face of a virus sweeping its way across the globe. And certainly nothing I was capable of creating mattered in a world where a cop could kneel on the neck of a breathless Black man for nine minutes. Or where the Orange Turd in charge could tear gas a crowd in D.C. so he could get a photo op in front of a church holding a bible. Upside down.
I'd started work on the oil refinery painting in January, weeks before hearing about a virus in Wuhan. I finished in April with an urge to cut that sucker up. But weeks later, I understood that the urge wasn't borne from any need to destroy the work--it was a need to deconstruct the work, a need to see the image differently.
Specifically, to see it through a window.
Thus began The Lockdown Windows, a new series intended to reimagine our world during our year of isolation:
The vaccine is here. With any luck, we'll achieve herd immunity before a variant kicks us back to the starting line. I don't yet know if I'll want to keep painting these as the world opens up again. But there they are, a marker for the year that was.