Art in the Time of Corona
ART IN THE TIME OF CORONA was originally exhibited in person at the Douglas Family Art Centre from October 31, 2020 to February 27, 2021. The majority of the artists have agreed to participate in this online extension of the exhibition so that more people may experience the exhibition.
In this new Covid world we have experienced the lockdown of schools and workplaces, public buildings and playgrounds. We were told to stay indoors, isolate, not see our families, not to travel and to wear masks. Our way of life has changed, maybe forever. During the lockdown it quickly became evident how the arts were playing a role assisting people with the processing of a pandemic world. Art in the Time of Corona is a celebration of the arts and its ability to help people process and survive this pandemic in good spirits.
People of this region of Lake of the Woods expressed their Covid experience through poetry, paintings, glass, ceramics, photography, textiles, videos and more! This exhibition is a means by which we can come together as a community and through the art we have created in this time, support each other and share in our collective experience.
Use the left and right arrows below to navigate through the pieces in the exhibition.
Gabriel Delorme, DEPTH
Polymer Clay 20.3 cm x 38.1 cm x 33.2 cm
For this piece, I wanted to capture the emotions I have been experiencing during quarantine. I wanted to create a piece that was not pleasant to look at, that seemed eerie, so it could convey the anxiety and restlessness I have been experiencing.
I chose to have this creature mounted on a plaque like a stuffed animal head, as no matter how much I wished to move and escape the reality we are currently in, I am stuck and static instead.
The shape of my sculpture takes inspiration from deep sea creatures, as I always find them unsettling, specifically referencing the bodies of eels and the head shape of an angler.
Irene McCuaig, SCORCHED
Acrylic on Canvas 101.6 cm x 76.2 cm
Venting some of the frustrations we feel as studios remain closed…take that, Covid 19!
Lil Anderson, NEVA
Coloured Pencil on Paper 30.5 cm x 22.9 cm
In order to pass the time and to visit (Zoom wise) with my friend Irene, we would do our coloured pencil projects. My focus was on doing dog portraits for a Dog’s Life fundraiser. I did over ten coloured pencil and watercolour pupper (puppy) portraits and had a ball doing them. While my Neva was not part of this fundraiser, she is an example of the works I did. While I don’t have the picture of ‘Sunny’ to hang, this beautiful dog makes me smile every time I see her painting so wanted to share it with you. Smile!
Susan Bulman, INVASION
Mixed Media on Canvas 30.5 cm x 40.6 cm
Very quickly done – on the spur of the moment after a particularly disturbing newscast. This life form is a lot older than we are and keeps changing to suit the environment; who knows where it originally came from? … it will be around when we, as a species, are long gone from earth. (This is a general comment about viruses and not this one in particular.) The image is smaller rather than larger; the colours highly contrasting for impact as this virus, something so small – has impacted us.
Darlene Karalash, A SWIPE AT LOW SUMMER RESIDENTS
Newsprint, toilet paper roll, wood and metal 22 cm x 33 cm x 12.7 cm
I couldn’t resist using the ubiquitous image of a roll of toilet paper to represent my experience of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The “paper” is made of four-inch wide strips of newsprint from Winnipeg Free Press articles covering the pandemic, beginning in January 2020 when the spread of the Coronavirus appeared to be a distant event in far away China, to self-isolation and lockdown in Manitoba becoming a personal reality in March, and ending in mid-May when it became evident that we would not be opening camp on Lake of the Woods during the Victoria Day long weekend—a Spring tradition in my husband’s family since 1892. Bummer!
Jennifer Caie, GROWING OUT OF MY PLACE
Acrylic on Canvas 50.8 cm x 76.2 cm
During this time of seclusion, masks, and uncertainty, I noticed the sun always shone, the birds made their nests, and the flowers bloomed and bloomed. Though people slowed, the land continued. I felt moved by this continuance and have painted many bird and flower paintings during these past months. The heat of the summer in particular and colours of the field at present, brought about Growing Out of My Place… plants tumbling over one another, leaf upon leaf; a mixed multitude.
Eleanor MacDonell, THE OPEN WINDOW
Acrylic on Canvas 50.8 cm x 40.6 cm
We are all looking forward to spring as we hunker down over the long dark winter in this Covid pandemic. Hopefully, this painting will remind us that spring is indeed coming and we will once again be able to open our windows to let in the fresh air and enjoy the flowers.
Pippi Johnson, ALONE, TOGETHER
Mixed Media on Canvas 37 cm x 37 cm
This square work is yellow, the dominant colour in my art work. Joy? Other emotions, meanings?? This time is a time of swirling emotions… connecting with the family group and self isolation. I need to touch edges, the alone figure is me, where now???
The first thing we often hear when people speak about how COVID-19 is effecting them is that they can’t hug their loved ones. Anyone outside the bubble of family feels worlds away. We are reminded constantly of all the things we don’t touch anymore and the mounting anxiety that everything we touch in public is contaminated. On top of all these layers of small grief, there are big changes happening. Lives uprooted or put on hold or lost. This work conveys that feeling and experience through one object: the escalator banister.
Anne Anderson, ISOLATION
Acrylic on Canvas 30.5 cm x 91 cm
Isolation is encouraged during the Covid 19 pandemic. The isolation of the Forgotten Lake ice waterfalls depicts the beauty, vastness and solitude of northwestern Ontario. Even isolation can inspire awe and beauty.
I like the contrast of the sparkling white of the ice falls, the shadows of the majestic pine forest with the backdrop of the beautiful blue, vast sky.
I chose to use colours that reflectively portrayed the image.
Marielle Benson, COVID PIC COLLAGE
Photography 45.7 cm x 91 cm
One of the activities I learned during Covid was to use a photo program called Piccollage, so I made a collage of some of the activities I engaged in during this time. I learned to join Zoom art workshops with Irene McCuaig, on painting flowers in various styles, watercolour and India ink Notan art as well as other online courses on architectural sketching. I also joined the online art show initiated by the Sioux Narrows Art Group. I learned how to sew masks, how to use Facetime and Messenger to keep in contact with friends and family, how to participate safely in a community garden and how to join art friends safely outside.
I am fortunate to be securely retired and free of the many stressors that parents and businesses are facing. It has been difficult to not see distant family for long periods, but hopefully air travel will be safer after the vaccine.
Kris Goold, NEW. ON THE MENU.
Ceramic 7.6 cm x 15.2 cm x 15.2 cm
I am fascinated with the COVID-19 virus under the microscope. How something unseen by the human eye, so small, has the power and impact to effect human life across the world.
Holly Ann Friesen, PADDLER'S VIEW
Acrylic on Canvas 91 cm x 91 cm
This painting was created in April 2020. Spring is when I normally open my downtown studio and welcome the community back into my workspace. When the community started to close in March, I had to change my plans as everyone else did but I never stopped working. Instead of working less, I explored “less” through my work. My paintings took on a more serene, calming perspective. I used a more limited palette, cooler colours and softer lines.
This is a painting I have left from that time. This painting offers calming effects in the foreground ⎼ in the current moment. However, it also offers a promise of a return to the norm in the future, with the movement of more defined cloud formations in the horizon ⎼ more in tune with my past work.
Ryan Smoluk, THE JOURNEY
Print 91 cm x 45.7 cm
Life is like a marathon. It is a personal journey that begins one step at a time. In this time of Corona we are all struggling. While we have isolated to keep our community safe, this piece reminds us of the colourful journey that all of us are on together. The stars represent our dreams while the rainbow symbolizes the diversity and uniqueness of each person’s journey.
Tammy Hanstead, CROSS YOUR PAWS
Photograph 20.3 cm x 25.4 cm
The second week into the pandemic I knew that I needed to find a challenge for myself and the dogs. Zip was adopted from Border Collie Rescue Ontario, Elsie was adopted from It’s A Dogs Life and my son’s dog Stark was adopted from It’s A Dogs Life. All three dogs are very active in dog sports, as well as visiting Pinecrest and an elementary school. They also attend agility, disc, manners and tricks classes. Zip had been rehearsing with the cast of Annie as the dog Sandy. So this was a big change for us to be in the house 24/7, except for our walks. I decided to pick a difficult trick and have them all perform the trick at the same time. Each evening I sat on the floor with a bowl of chopped liver, and started to shape the behaviour of crossing their paws. Stark got it in about two days, Elsie a couple weeks and Zip about a month. Then, the challenge was to get everyone crossing their paws at the same time and then on cue. It was fun and kept us busy and the dogs thinking, which kept them out of mischief. It took about three months of one practice per day for all three to cross their paws together. I think it is pretty cute. Thank you.
Sydney McInnes, I CAN'T BREATHE
Oil on Panel 27.9 cm x 20.3 cm
We have all had extra time to take up hobbies during quarantine, so I have chosen to work with my passion of painting oil portraits. I have also had more time to learn about a variety of current social justice issues. This piece is in reference to the Black Lives Matter Protests that are going on all around the world while it also references the ‘mask situation’ that seems to be very polarizing. The painting draws parallels between the two topics. Ironically, while one group of people are saying that a mask limits their ability to breathe and infringes upon their rights, another group is simply fighting for a chance to just breathe.
(Disclaimer: This is my personal opinion, and my opinion is not representative of The Muse.)
Gord Day-Janz, WINDOWS OF COMFORT
Print/Photography 57.2 cm x 73.7 cm
In the early days of COVID-19 when things were shutting down and there was isolation and loneliness, especially for elder folk, my wife Judy would send out cards of encouragement. She didn’t always have cards that were appropriate so I began to make cards from my photography that fit the moment. This is a small representation of the cards I made.
Rowena Berringer, CIRCLING
Acrylic and Pen on Canvas 91 cm x 45.7 cm
This piece came about through practice and play, likely mostly the latter. Covid isolation allowed me the time to play with paint and canvas. As I contemplated what came to be on my canvas, I thought about looking outward or looking inward at the changes that we are all experiencing in our lives.
The poem, A Refuge, is an acknowledgement of time passing, and the search for light and hope amidst the darkness of Covid-19. It is written first person but also in the voice of all of us, searching for a safe haven ⎼ a house, the backyard, nature, hobbies, family, our “bubbles”, certainty in any form. I was struck by how, despite everything being unpredictable, the seasons still changed and spring came anyway. Yet, as the ice slowly disappeared and the chill lifted, COVID remained. I sought refuge in what was familiar, the ground beneath my feet, my dog, my garden, my home.
Eric Matheson, ZOOM BIRDS IN COVID TIMES
Acrylic on Masonite 33 cm x 46 cm
I attempted a couple of Covid-19 pieces that only left me feeling depressed and that I had no desire to complete. My wife pointed out some tree swallows on a page wire fence that looked like they were involved in a zoom call and the idea for this painting was born. Zoom calls, which are now the way we run most meetings in this time of physical separation, are loaded with humour as we get to see ourselves as others see us. Some of these birds may remind you of the personalities in a meeting you’ve been involved with.
Bonnie Jeffrey, A CHILD'S PERSPECTIVE
Encaustic (wax and oil paint) on Canvas 28.1 cm x 76.2 cm
The inspiration for this painting was a family video I received in March when restrictions due to Corona Virus were most aggressive. Schools, playgrounds, sports activities, birthday parties, and play time were all abruptly cancelled.
A thirteen year old girl drew a continuous hop scotch the entire length of a very long cul-de-sac. All the kids in the neighbourhood were able to hop in at their own driveway, do the circuit and return home. They continued to do what they always did, played outside with their friends while social distancing.
The painting confirms what we all know to be true: kids are most creative when faced with long periods of boredom.
Cheryl Kinney Matheson, AS CLOSE AS GRANDMA AND GRANDPA CAN GET! EASTER 2020
Photograph 25.4 cm x 20.3 cm
The blue-grey tones of this photo suggest the sadness of being distant from beloved grandchildren. Life is off-kilter in this time of Covid-19.
Lorna Smith, PROGRESSIVE PROTECTION EVOLVES? (PPE)
Mixed Media 58.4 cm x 34.3 cm
As Covid-19 spread across our “community”, we have been receiving mixed messages about the use of masks. This piece questions who we are protecting, how we are protecting, and if we are protecting people. Has the evolution of mask design provided people with sufficient protection? Each of us has personal thoughts about wearing a mask. This debate will continue until a vaccine to Covid becomes available.
Elizabeth Wires, SURVIVING COVID⎮OFF TO THE WOODS I GO
Glass 34.3 cm x 26.7 cm
In many respects my life has not changed. I walk my springers two or three times a day. On these walks I visit with my neighbours and their kids and pups. It is always interesting to see what the kids are building … lots of bike jumps in my neighbourhood! They make me laugh.
What I miss are my friendships at the Arts Hub, in person book club meetings … while we still meet (via Zoom) and discuss the book … we cover a lot of other ground on other topics! I miss having glass workshops in my studio. My creativity mojo was lost for a while this winter and summer.
We had highs and lows this year … a beautiful grand baby joined our family and a wedding postponed.
I remain hopeful that spring will bring us to a new normal.
Feeling blessed that I live in Canada.
Cheryl Wilson-Smith, FRAGILITY
Glass, feathers, stones and seeds 15.2 cm x 9.3 cm x 11.4 cm, 14.6 cm x 8.9 cm x 10.8 cm, 10.8 cm x 9.27 cm x 11.4 cm
These houses are a new experimental technique for me in cast glass. Through them I was able to explore some of my feelings during Covid, while being in quarantine. and the aftermath of trying to move in a world I was now reluctant to enter. The materials and technique used are specifically chosen to relate to the emotions I experienced both internally and imposed by others in this strange new time. The exploration will continue.
Grayden Sie-Merritt, VORTEX
Acrylic on Canvas 91 cm x 45.7 cm
School and other activities were shut down and I was stuck at home, so I tried out a new art form that I found online. It was fun to try something new and it felt good.
Chrissy Sie-Merritt, GARDEN BEACON (HEALER OF GRIEF)
Acrylic on Canvas 61 cm x 91.4 cm
This piece was birthed during a rare few hours of alone, creative time, during the pandemic. Mullein, known for its potent medicinal properties for the respiratory system, powered its way through deep ground cover in my garden. When I saw the leaves making their way through a strong weed barrier I decided that it was meant to be in the garden.
Upon research I learned that this radiant plant was an ally for working through grief and she became a beacon in my garden. A place that I was able to grow nourishing food and healthy moments of pause during uncertainty. She became a healing gift in many ways as life delivered challenge after challenge.
During COVID I’m trapped at home with time to reflect, to write and to spend time in my yard. I noticed the abundance of wildlife, birds, insects and plants flourishing. The piece hints at how temporary our time here on earth is but yet there is a balance in everything. When we step back others grow.
W.F. (Bill) McFarlane, POPLAR #1
Reduction Linocut 41.9 cm x 27.1 cm
I created this piece in response to a specific poplar tree in my yard. The negative space between the branches intrigued me. I enjoyed the challenge of simplifying the subject into four components and recreating the image as a reduction linocut. The solitary nature of the image reminds me of the sense of isolation and uncertainty I experienced during the initial onset of the virus.
Wanda Kabel, SIOUX NARROWS - NESTOR FALLS ESSENTIAL - A TRIBUTE TO ESSENTIAL WORKS DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
Covid-19 is having a monumental impact on our way of life. As a photographer, I yearn to tell stories through imagery. I also feel that photo-documenting significant events helps preserve important moments in history.
I want to showcase the impact that this pandemic is having on the small, rural community of Sioux Narrows – Nestor Falls through black and white portraits (using a zoom lens for appropriate physical distancing) of our own hometown heroes; grocers, retailers, truck drivers, postal workers, clinic staff, police, paramedics, fire fighters, municipal workers, public health, bank workers, etc.
Carolyne Lynch, ISOLATION - LONE PINE
Acrylic on Canvas 40.6 cm x 50.8 cm
Canadians have always been attracted to the image of the lone white pine, struggling for survival in our harsh environment. I am lucky enough to have a beautiful one beside my house. In the coldest winter storm and the hottest summer heat she stands like a goddess. Durning thunder storms, while other trees are bending and breaking she stands majestic and strong hardly moving.
In the first weeks of covid the world was like a sudden storm. The news was depressing, worries were increasing. My goddess was my strength.
Stand strong in isolation and let the storm pass.
On the shores of the Winnipeg River was the best place in the world to isolate. I took strength from the nature around me to help calm the anxiety of covid. The woman in my painting is alone, naked, vulnerable. Yet she is immersing herself in nature, looking to the lone pine for strength.
“Leaving Normality” was written down on paper in May 2020 at a time when the noise of the world was getting too loud and chaotic for me. COVID-19 was/is still a large concern in my family as three out of the five of us are at risk for various reasons. America and Canada was/is struggling with our inner demons. And I was/am dealing with some as well. This story was my way of escaping the world for a moment while still documenting and facing some of the stresses and worries I was carrying on my back. However, I need to clarify that the story was in the back of my head since March 2020 when the world started to realize COVID-19 wasn’t just another flu.
The recording was completed on August 23, 2020 when I felt I was emotionally able to record the reading. As you can hear, I wasn’t completely in control of myself but I kept the recording. It feels fitting that I would get myself back together along with the character instead of passively reading about his breakdown and reconstruction.
One last thing: keen listeners will note that a line or two might be missing in the recorded version. This is because I had difficulty reading the story during my break and had lost my place. More symbolism of 2020 I suppose. In any case, thank you for reading/listening.
Video 3 minutes 40 seconds
With the COVID 19 pandemic came massive layoffs but it also came with the opportunity to take on creative projects I wouldn’t have time for otherwise.
My video game development project, Outer Dynasty, is the result of having time to create something I’m passionate about. I’m a Multimedia Developer & Designer who uses my inspiration from older interactive works to create new multimedia experiences to be enjoyed by others and myself.
The prototype takes heavy influence from pixelated science fiction first person games that were popular during the 1990’s. Not only does this genre allow for unconfined movement and exploration, but it is also less taxing to develop than a visually realistic 3D game.
Creating games acts as an escape for me as I can create empowering situations and worlds. Though I am confined to my home due to the pandemic, my lack of freedom is alleviated by creating spacious environments to run through virtually. With no worry about catching a virus, of course. My goal to create an experience that complements the games of the past but also provides something new that has an identity of its own, as that is what I believe most inspirations should amount to.
By the end of the pandemic, my hope is that the prototype will have become a full game that we can play with each other in the same room as we used to.
Jamie Clinton, STOP THE SPREAD
Posters 76.2 cm x 52.1 cm & 76.2 cm x 52.1 cm
Proper design brings clarity to confusing messages, which is what we wanted to achieve here. With so much uncertainty and misinformation circulating at the beginning of the pandemic, we wanted to design posters with a clear message: protect your community by exercising these basic precautions. In the beginning, there was also a great deal of mixed messages about the use of masks. There was not enough research, or confirmed answers by the entities we look to for direction. However, it was simple logic to many researchers, and we could see that many of the other countries who were using masks widely were gaining a better handle on it quicker. It came down to a basic concept, if it is spread through our droplets when we are close to others, an extra layer to reduce the droplets spread will ultimately reduce transmission rates. It is not a cure, or a guaranteed protection, but it is one more measure that can be taken to reduce transmission and therefore reduce the stress on our health care system, which is the most important factor. Although at this time in Canada many are against the use of masks, we felt it was a stigma that would eventually need to be broken in North America in order to get back to our lives. Therefore, my friend started making a wide array of stylish masks, and I designed this poster with the emphasis on masks. With this poster we wanted people to feel that it is ok to wear a mask to help protect your community. When you are wearing a mask it does not mean “I’m afraid”, or “I’m a sheep”, it simply means “I want to do my part to help protect the community in which I live.”
McKenna Bye, MARIGOLDS IN A JAR
Photograph 30.5 cm x 45.7 cm
During Covid-19 I used my time to practice my photography skills and gardened with my mom; we grew a variety of plants and flowers on our deck. I made a decision to merge the two activities after being taught how to collect the seeds of flowers so they can be grown next year and this photo is the result of that decision. The marigolds in this photo are ones that my mom and I grew together and the seeds spilling out of the jar are from the same marigolds. This photo is a reminder to me of the small things in life that bring me joy during good times and times of uncertainty.
Janet Lindstrom, RED, RED
Textile 44.5 cm x 16.5 cm
At the beginning of the pandemic, I found that being alone was a comfort. Having to remain at home gave me time to make a number of quilted wall hangings with no interruptions. I worked on a “Joy” project and this item is one of the results. Fabric used is cotton with a small amount of tulle. Red is an emotionally intense colour so appropriate for Covid time. The background was hand painted and the flowers were “freestyle” machine quilted. Relaxing for me in a difficult time.
Marylou (Lou) Goodwin, A SENSE OF PLACE
Mixed Media on Canvas 15.2 cm x 91 cm
Having lived in Kenora most of my life, I cannot come into town via water without going by the boat houses that sit close to the Holiday Inn, the Lakeside Inn and Convention Centre, the Clarion Hotel… you know the place! My husband keeps saying to me whenever we drive by, someone should paint those a nice bright colour and so I thought,… What a great idea! I painted them with a bit of artistic license in many versions and this is the one I have chosen to submit to the show. I am not sure this is what he meant!!
There is something about coming home and having a familiar landscape that is welcoming and means “place” in your heart and in your mind. Especially this year when the world and even “home” has turned upside down. This is a “place” among many on the lake that remains dear to my heart.
Ann Frechette, BASKETS
Ash reeds and oak handles 27.9 cm x 22.9 cm
This past summer I finally took the time to clean out the storage area. When all was said and done I found a tub of basket weaving materials from 30 years ago. So what a perfect time to renew old skills and create something useful and creative.
Jean Paul Lavand, PROTECTIVE MOM
Acrylic on Canvas 49.5 cm x 40 cm
The pandemic has affected my creativity and motivation. I painted less and found myself challenged to finish paintings I had started. This painting reminds me of better times.
Les Livingston, COVID COOPER
Poster 91.4 cm x 91.4 cm
March 20, 2020. Business shut down. The start of COVID-19 for Kenora. Within several weeks we created COVID posters for a display board. Then in April I bid at an online auction for a 2005 Cooper Mini. Result ⎼ I bought a Mini with no idea what I needed it for. I began looking at COVID posters and thought that the info would transfer well as a vehicle wrap for the Mini, so the artwork was created. The car would serve as a constant reminder of the crisis all world governments have put us in. Was it an accident? Is it a conspiracy? We will not know until we die. So in a strange way, many people are getting the answer at this very minute.
In addition, we wanted to thank all of the workers risking their lives to ensure our communities kept functioning as much as possible, and remind people of the role each of us plays in order to protect their community.
Did you know?
The name “Kenora” is a portmanteau of the names of local towns Keewatin, Norman, and Rat Portage— KE from Keewatin, NO from Norman, and RA from Rat Portage.
The name “Kenora” is a portmanteau of the names of local towns Keewatin, Norman, and Rat Portage— KE from Keewatin, NO from Norman, and RA from Rat Portage.