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Metamorphosis Room TWO

This Isolation Collection begins in Prague, in an even more Kafkaesque climate than usual. Artists witness and reflect upon world events, and for those of us who cannot stop being productive, even in lockdown, we have created this platform.

We have invited international artists to share their thoughts, stories and works relating to and/or born during these unusual and transformative times...

Malinda Kilmer

This is a piece I’ve been working on for a while. As with many of my pieces it starts as shapes, movement of color that then begin to form an idea depending on the mood they evoke in me. This painting didn’t have a definitive direction or completion until I began my time isolating. The pandemic just starting to break wide open with the shut down imminent, causing a collective feeling of uncertainty, the anxiety of loss of normalcy, of loneliness and financial uncertainty.

These overwhelming feelings that a storm is coming I describe as the anticipatory grief of what the future holds, about the chaos of an uncertain world where an unseen danger lurks, where the sense of self preservation of oneself and loved ones becomes a journey deep into finding the strength to remain mentally strong and go on; that collectively we are all experiencing these intense emotions...

I incorporated those emotions in the direction and completion of this piece.

Into The Deep | Acrylic on Canvas | 36” x 36” | March 5th, 2020 | New York City, New York

This piece was made after weeks in isolation. While in my studio I received news that my dearest and oldest friend since childhood was fighting for her life in the hospital from the virus. Even as I write this the emotions are still raw. The recorded messages I would receive were not even recognizable as my friend's voice.

The helplessness, the anxiety of possible loss of a loved one took over my feelings and ideas of how I wanted to express them in this painting. The crow appeared in the progress of the work. I realized my internal voice was metaphorically at work in my apprehension of my friends fate. The crow, as believed in many cultures can cross between the spiritual and material world where they are messengers between the living and the dead. They are believed to be messengers of death but also messengers of creation and the magic of life. The crow shows us both the light and the dark, that helps us navigate the journey of change and transformation. It was this feeling of my friend lingering in this state between life and death, her slow but steady progress back to health and our ability to stay connected through technology - all the while I was working on this piece. We were able to share our sense of fear and our mutual need to find meaning in what we are all experiencing, which for us is gratitude... for life, for a world we have long taken for granted and the love we receive from each other and relief that our families were still intact.

The Journey between Darkness and the Light | Acrylic on Canvas | 48” x 38” | April 6th, 2020 | New York City, New York

This piece is a culmination of my worst apprehensions in this period of isolation and pandemic. The death of a beloved friend. The realization your friend died alone, the deep sadness from the inability to comfort those who are grieving with physical contact, the frustration of not being able to say goodbye, to not be able to mourn and start the healing through the process of the funeral. All I could give to his widow and child was this painting and my vision of a place of light and peace.

As with most of my paintings it starts as shapes, markings and movement of color until its concept reveals itself. My experience dealing with my friend's death was pivotal in guiding its concept.

"From the Depth of Darkness Begins the Journey to the Light" - For the memory of my dear friend Giancarlo. Rest in peace my friend. | Acrylic on Canvas | 48”x38” | April 16th, 2020 | New York City, New York

PHIL SHOENFELT

Shrine

A child goes down to the ocean

Throws his arms around the sky

He sees how the stars are turning

He laughs then begins to cry

And the moon is blessed

She rises in the west

In his heart he feels uncertain

His dreams are pinned like the wings of a butterfly

And he hides behind the curtain

And the sins and the lies of the fathers

Shall rain down on the heads of their sons

And the dreams of the daughters and the mothers

Shall turn to dust in their hands

And all of this will surely come to pass

And nothing in this world will stay the same

Just the wind and the dust and the ashes of a dream

No winner at the end of the game

And the child screams, "I see nothing

There's darkness at the heart of the sun"

And he calls to the souls of the children

Who lived and died by the gun

"Graves and lies and crooked alibis

Pay heed to the words that were spoken

Cast out your hate, touch me with your love

Don't let yourselves be broken"

And I see your face in my dreams sometimes

Like a vision I had so long ago

In the chamber where the books and the keys were laid

Buried so far below

And all of this will surely come to pass

And nothing in this world will stay the same

Just the wind and the dust and the ashes of a dream

No winner at the end of the game

Hope Wambui Ochieng

- Text by Peter Nolan Smith -

MEETING HOPE

In the winter of 2019 I accompanied three young New Yorkers to Nairobi. We were going to climb Mount Kilimanjaro with the Kenyan team. Most of them lived in Kibera, a shanty town of almost a million people living on $1 a day. While I had been to slums around the world I was amazed at the size of Kibera. The main street of Soweto was crowded with families enjoying a restful Saturday. Vanessa brought us to a women's center. Her nine year-old sister entered the top floor. Hope recited poems about life in this chaos with pride.

"I am proud to be a slum girl."

The poverty around her remained poverty, but not despair because for Hope life is all about one person changing people to transform not only Kibera or Africa, but the world.

Photograph by Steve Kasoa

(Hope's sister Vanessa, Peter and Hope)

COVID-19 is Real

Spoken Word - by Hope

JAROMÍR LELEK

Jessica Serran

Lockdown has been a sweet balm for my introverted soul. It has felt like a return to a more natural state - one with less pressure to be out or surrounded by people. As social opportunities have lessened, so has my stress. Never before has this internal processor (the one that must decide what I will and won’t do) stopped running almost completely.

There is no need to cancel, confirm or worry about whether I’m self-isolating too much.

As I worked on this piece I questioned what it would take for me to allow this painting, like this state I’m in, to be what it naturally wanted to be, without the pressure of being more of this or more of that.

What would emerge on the canvas if I “just said it” without concern for what I was saying? If I just painted it, without concern for whether or not it made any sense?
You Say It | Mixed Media on Board, 160x160cm, 2020.

Nick Zedd

This can be an opportunity to reflect and experience an inner world, enabling us to face ourselves while researching the causes of the empire's economic collapse.

Loki | Oil on Canvas / Tantalus | Oil on Canvas | 16 x 16” / Devoido Jr. 8 x 19", Acrylic and Plasticina Epoxica, 2015-2020

Lori Field

I began keeping a daily and detailed sketchbook of stream-of-consciousness ink drawings with collage in a pink-ruled legal pad in late 2019. I drew these images intuitively with symbolic, anthropomorphic, and surreal characters to emphasize and express my reactions to the global news I was listening to while working in my studio. In particular, I was listening to US news about the impeachment hearings and trial of President Trump. So, the first 70 or so of these drawings were the results. I called this series my Book of Pink drawings.

I continued with these beginning in early March of 2020, working in the same pink sketchbooks but now as a reaction to being in isolation and in lock-down here in the NYC area due to the pandemic. Still a reaction to the news, but post novel coronavirus, the drawings became different and more intense while under quarantine. They are more elaborate than the earlier Book of Pink drawings and embellished with effusive and strangely symmetrical overblown landscapes and hot house colored inks. I call these new ones, added to the existing series, my Cabin Fever drawings. They contain overzealous flora and fauna, parallel botany and creatures who appear to have undergone some kind of metamorphosis. These figures morph back and forth between becoming animal or becoming human, switching gender identities at will, while often sprouting tiger heads, chameleon wings, and bunny ears on more than one occasion. They are creatures not found in our current nature, but perhaps from the future when we’ve mutated or adapted to our new world.

My Book of Pink Drawings

Cabin Fever / Virginia Dentata | Icarus

Marcia Resnick

Walking to the supermarket or pharmacy wearing my N95 # 8511 respirator mask, my hoody underneath my purple coat and a pair of matching purple surgical gloves suites my style of dress.

Stockpiling things like toilet paper and paper towels and even food has always been a natural inclination of mine. Somehow this insular life is not dissimilar to my regular life. The one difference is that this isolation is not of my own choosing. COVID-19 is a repugnant virus which has caused a climate of fear and uncertainty. It has caused me to turn inward and subsequently look backward at my past work. I created these three manipulated photographs many years ago but they chillingly convey my present state of mind.

Stanko Sequens

We created these three objects in 2011, nine years ago... but now they seem oddly up-to-date, and maybe at that moment we bent time and became an art oracle on the top of Le Corbusier's famous Unité Habitation...

In the same year, we began a long-term series called “Sneaky Violence” and these three works are the very beginning of this project.

The aim of this concept was confrontation with sneaky, sophisticated violence (mental or physical or any other you can imagine). We assumed that our minds were set on insistent thoughts of violence and evil... for example you are sitting in the tram and you know somebody is behind you. Should he or she shoot you just for fun? Or what comes to your mind when you see a bag of plaster, bucket of water and chain saw?

We were interested in negative feelings and imagination which went beyond the framework of a showcased object, image or an installation. We tried to visualize an intensely negative atmosphere without using superficially violent effects.

Tranfer Station, video / China of Unfanthomable Flavor, object / A Dream of Reconstruction | from the Series “Sneaky Violence” | 2011

Michael John Rowland

I began writing ‘Infinity in Bits’ (a book about the Tarot) in October 2019. It is now May 2020 and we are wading into the ninth week of shut down. I put the final word to the first draft last week.

The book is a very personal card to card exploration of a Tarot deck of my own design. Most of the 78 images have been chosen from paintings and drawings I have made over the past 12 years which I found relevant to the classic cards of the Tarot. The rest of the images were created specifically for the cards in question. I have kept true to the social and psychologically universal aspects of the popular Rider Waite Smith, Thoth and Marseille packs.

In the last two months it would have been impossible for me to have written of our universal commonality without elements of the current Covid-19 lock-down filtering into the book.

The Tarot is all about the possibilities of transformation through gaining a clear understanding of the self via untrodden paths.

When Robert contacted me to collaborate on this project I leapt at the chance.

As with many artist friends, apart from not being able to go out and gather inspiration from galleries, parks, cafes and general social events, most physical acts of creating have not been hindered, and so I am happy to show some of the results of my own reaction to this surreal turn of events. I am sharing my text on the Three of Swords and the corresponding painting - which I feel reflects our sense of isolation and our desire to escape.

Here's Looking at You, Our Kid | Collage and Oil on Canvas | 2019

Three of Swords

If you prick me do I not bleed?

If I accidentally put salt in my coffee instead of sugar which was in an unmarked jar that looked like sugar, do I not go "Bluuuurrrghhhh!"?

I am but flesh and blood

and understatement

and wonky teeth

Pour me a bubble bath, I think I'm going to cry.

All things must pass, but why?

If I could get Time to stand still for just 11 seconds it would be that moment when you said "If I could get time to stand still for 11 seconds it would be right now."

When all your chickens have come home to roost and the kettle's on and the movie is downloading and the sky is bruising and the wet spring afternoon has decided everything for you.

Goodbye is too good a word, babe so I'll just....ignore it. It never happened. You never said it. There.

#kissmekillme #imissyou #brokendreams #iamsorry

"I coulda been a contender, I could've been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am."

"I could have been a footballer, but I had a paper round "

I don't know what the weather is like outside, I haven't looked. The afternoon is simmering. Salt and Vinegar crisps, fancy chocolates, prosecco, DVDs and a bucket full of tears and gin-soaked regrets.

The golden vagina home to roost, the baubles fallen from this hapless clown's costume, my non-plussed alley cat sick to the eyeballs of my shameless ennui.

"Embrace your arch nemesis as you would your heroes.

That sorrow you fear you are nurturing with your comfort blanket and Garfield onesie is a part of you.

Polish that silver toe-ring good, raise that plastic champagne glass and repeat after me, 'We'll always have the Liverpool Docks'. Here's looking at you, our kid."

Ibalgin, books, banjos and bedtime.

Bulbous nosed seraphim and a child's enchanted platform.

Caramelised wallowing in fried cheese recuperation, the loss of something loved can bring spiritual remuneration.

The Mook and Mr Happy taking snapshots of balloons floating in a north westerly direction to Chokmah, the land of wise, handsome young poets whose job it is to beat-poet the woe out of your beat-less heart.

And I beat-bet you'd give your wonky teeth for just one beat-beer with your beatified brother.

Calmly, as strawberry flavoured ectoplasm leaks from your mummifying jim-jams, you murmer to the hallucination in the fire place.

"Haha! Where did you come from? Where are you going? Who the fuck are you? Can I come?"

Renata Kudlacek

Metamorphosis, a series of mixed media fine art and hand printed screen-prints on paper, emphasises the science of life through transitional states of metamorphosis, whilst raising the question of life and its origin. The constant challenge between old standard and new science. Subjective perception and emotion however, are defined and contrasted by a collective atmosphere of a society. Modern society and life is ever changing through globalization in a rapid pace. Now the unthinkable has happened. The world how we knew it does not exist anymore. The future we thought we can predict is unknown. Change has to happen. It would be the biggest madness if nothing changes. Rethink – not less globalisation but ideal globalisation – exchange of knowledge and values. Less me - more us. More togetherness - in the end we all are facing the same final transition - that of our own mortality.

Aesthetic experience is closely related to ethical experience. The use of symbolic motives of flowers, butterflies, snakes etc. within traditional interpretation and mythologies is integral to my work.

Methamorphosis Naturalis

Tulip I, Tulip II | Four Colour Screen-print on Bütten Paper, Hand-printed / Tulip III | Fine Art Print on Hahnemühle Photo Rag — 2018

Krystof Hosek

The sculptural work of Krystof Hosek is primarily devoted to figurative motives.

Through his plastics - which are oscillating on the edge of decadence, caricature and pop-art - he critically reacts on present political and economical situations.

This work was inspired by the short story "The Gold Bug". It paraphrases the multi-layered work of E.A. Poe and his personalities. The installation of Krystof Hosek with his beetles - currently on the 4th floor of the National Gallery in Prague - can be perceived in this context as the main origin of COVID-19!

Big mother (The Gold Bug) | Installation | 400x600 cm | Resin, Gold Polychromy | 2020 National gallery in Prague

Gwendolyn Albert

Death Trap Sutra | Poem | 2020

Andrew Goodall

This series of photocopies derives from another series of black-and-white photographs of a shirt taken at the end of March 2020. Near the beginning of the lockdown period, I noticed that this shirt – now frayed at the edges and torn on one sleeve, not apparent though from a suitable social distance – when cast unceremoniously on the floor adopted a pose expressive of a spirit without me. I then went on to cast down the shirt more ceremoniously, photographing how it fell.

In the present work, Metamorphosis (20 April 2020), I selected three of these photographs, not unreminiscent of the pupa, larva and imago stages of insect metamorphosis. I juxtaposed the photographs with grocery shopping lists that I had kept from the previous fortnight. (Under quarantine, shopping just every four or five days has required such lists to become more comprehensive; the items on a list are arranged so as to be read in the order in which they are encountered, entrance to exit). Two cycles are thereby counterpointed: the unconscious rhythm of days a particular shirt is worn, and the period between shopping trips, dictated largely by when milk, beer or wine go short. I then photocopied the three pairs of shirts/shopping lists three times over, the copy of the copy of the copy erasing the ephemera. Only the photocopies remain.

During quarantine the names of the days seem to come less readily to mind; there is a need to impose a structure on the days so that events might happen in them. In the grid of photocopies, horizontal is metamorphosis into imago, while vertical is metamorphosis of an image into its ghost. Which direction the days go remains to be seen, as they disappear.

Metamorphosis | Detail
Metamorphosis | Detail
Metamorphosis | April 2020 | 3x3 A4 photocopies of photographs and pen/pencil on paper.

JAN HAJDELAK HUSTÁK

The music video from the band WWW Neurobeat is based on the theatre performance TUMOR - carcinogenic romance by T.I.T.S. performance group.

The inner world of cells in our body is as big as whole galaxies. The diseases and viruses spreading around our small planet are reflected within our fragile bodies. Are we the virus of planet Earth? Is the virus just Earth's way to fight back at our destructive behaviour? "Do not fill my chest with your trash."

WWW | Krevni obeh / WWW | Bloodstream

Andi Arnovitz

In the summer of 2019, I began a series of medically oriented works.

Turning sixty, and alerted to the worsening condition of osteoporosis in my own body (the loss of bone density) and witnessing the slowing of my own body’s ability to heal itself- my art took a turn inward on a minute, molecular level.

Physical manifestations of the wounded or ill body: a grandchild’s black eye - with the accompanying bruising in many hues of purple, my father’s nephrostomies- with the bags of urine in varying shades of gold, yellow and pink, the fungus on his toenails, and the bruising on his paper-thin skin-all were both repellant and at the same time, visually beautiful.

The onset of various diseases with friends and family is both a source of morbid curiosity and artistic fascination, and a deep dark hole I can easily slip into. The idea that something goes very wrong in our bodies, something that we cannot see or know about, is a worried obsession and a muse for further exploration. A web search for images of various diseases at the cellular level reveals a rich graphic world, full of color and repetitive patterns. Cancer cells are beautiful. Porous bone scans look like lace. Urine crystals are architectural structures. The image of the Coronavirus is pleasingly graphic.

When working with watercolors, salt and water, there is a special kind of physics at work: very wet paper will absorb, bleed and spread the pigment differently than dry paper. The very act of painting mimics cellular activity. This color breaks into and clouds another color. The color bleeds and stains in unpredictable ways. Things mutate.

These pieces are all part of an ongoing body of work exploring aging, disease and the limitations of our bodies. They reflect back to us the intricate forms that comprise our bodies, and are at the same time both horrible and seductive. With COVID-19, eerily, hauntingly, these works have become more relevant and the fear of things going wrong has intensified.

For Making Me According to Your Will | Watercolor, Paper and Film / The King's Daughter | Watercolor on Film, Paper and Fabric — 2019
Cough | Lightbox, Hand-painted Film, Paper, Fabrics, Salt / Sneeze | Lightbox, Hand-painted Film, Fabric, Paper, Salt — 2020 / Epidemiology | Watercolor and Film, 2019 / Lungs - from the Artist Book “In this Strange Springtime“, Watercolor, 2020

Jill Pallone

YEARNING (PANDEMIC)

Yesterday, I cried

for tulips

at their peak:

Orange,

Yellow,

striped

White

and Red,

reaching up

to April

skies,

not yet

prepared

to bow

down

in listless

resignation.

I cried

for the spring

I will not

see:

the clever

dance

of fresh

wisteria,

climbing, twisting,

falling

from wooden

pergolas

and iron

gates,

hugging

the mottled

trunks

of patient

trees.

But today,

as clouds

hang

low

and windows

close

against

the chilling

wind,

I do not yearn

to spread

my wings;

I am content

here,

in the dimness

of the afternoon,

to sit

in a clear

space

of perfect

silence,

wrapped

in thought,

stroking

the comforting

shapes

of words.

Jill Pallone

29 March 2020

Ulrike Mundt

METAMORPHOSES

The boundary between useful devices and non-functional objects has become permeable, as has that between art and design. Ulrike Mundt observes how objects that shape our lives transform their meaning by altering their character. By anticipating this transformation creatively and with humour, she herself becomes a source of inspiration for “metamorphoses” and in this way helps to determine what is beautiful and useful.

In her group of works on “crosses”, Ulrike Mundt transforms familiar symbols into pseudo-organic objects. Knotwood, traces of processing as well as the surface and tonal value of the colours reduce the signal character by reloading the crosses with new content.

As a totem pole symbolizes the relationship between Indian tribes and nature, this sculpture refers to the potential of the efficiently used materials for transformation. In combination they remain independent and yet form something new that also points the way like a crossroads traffic sign.

The sculptures and wall objects of this group of works carry human references to a minimal value of expression. In this way they become tragic beings that are longing for transformation: they want to speak, but communicate just with themselves, they long for existence, but can only stand with a prosthesis.

texts by: Susanne Burmester, gallery owner, 2020

CaGeMe

A color remains a color.

A human remains a human.

When time gives people a change, aren't we still the same people with the same qualities?

The distance and mindfulness focuses, the corona continues its circle. The rhythm pulsates constantly.

How do we take care of each other? How do I react? What is my need for control?

The (transforming) dancer personifies adaptation, adjustment, conversion, transformation.

With a new knowledge, the (self-) perception changes and there is a change - metamorphosis.

Beautiful Lover

Performance: Caroline Gerbeckx / Music: Marc Elsner / Video: Florian Willuhn / Directed by: Marc Elsner

Zara Wildmoons

Everything we breathe - we touch - we live - we love - changes us.

“Don’t be afraid, and go.” - These were my last words to my father

as he passed away.

Angel exit / Death’s head moth

I am

Death changed me

and I am morphed

forever

Breathe Death - Metamorphoses | Quarantine time, 2020

VINCENT FARNSWORTH

Using audio clips of Bible verses along with Feedback Machine noise-music, the video "Pass Over Prague" is a plea sent out to the universe. Created during Passover, which after all was about a plague. The Feedback Machine is an electronic music instrument I invented which combines live audio feedback with sine waves; it is played by controlling the distance between the microphone and the amplifier while playing the sine-wave notes on a keyboard. I wrote the tune one morning during the lockdown.

Laurie Sheridan

I have felt the temporariness, the transitory nature of everything, during this strange period of isolation. Time has begun to feel strange and unreal. I wanted to make something that would last. If and when this particular piece disintegrates, a steel armature will remain like a fossil for a long time.

Fecund Pod is a monumental homage to the power of nature to regenerate. It is a hybrid of flora and fauna; a pod engorged with eggs, the promise of future sentient beings.

Fecund Pod | Sculpture | Steel and Plaster, Gelatin and Urethane Rubber | May 2020

The Isolation Collection

Metamorphosis Room two

“Such were the thoughts, completely futile in his present condition, that went through his head as he stood clinging upright to the door and listening.” _ The Metamorphosis - Franz Kafka

If you want to know more about the project, support us and/or the artists, or if you are interested in buying a piece you've just seen, please contact us at isolationcollection[at]gmail[dot]com

The Isolation Collection is curated by Robert Carrithers, Hagai Segev, Jo Blin and Michael J. Rowland

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© The Isolation Collection, 2020

© all rights reserved to the individual artists

Credits:

The Isolation Collection