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Judith Stevens: Moss, acrylic on birch board, 16” diameter


Connie Chapel: Return to the Wildness (sculpture)


Link Phillips: The year of perfect vision (digital file)


Sacha Kopelow: The earth's surface (sculpture)

 
Artists from Around the World Come Together to Exhibit Works Online in Response to the Coronavirus Pandemic

by Susan Turner, ARTA & ROUNDNESS coordinator, participant, designer, Sept 13

 Working as an artist is almost always a solo act, so, in some ways, the pandemic hasn’t changed that. By late spring, though, anxiety about the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic had seeped into many aspects of life, necessitating changes in everyone’s social behavior. Artists, too, were missing so much: studio visits to see and talk about one another’s work, going to galleries to see exhibitions, and just getting together. To find a path through this, I began to develop a project to connect and involve many artists. A collective project with artists focusing on one theme opens avenues for enriched contact with others and, in this case, for sharing ideas about the pandemic and the societal ills it has released.

 

The resulting project is ROUNDNESS, an on-line exhibition in book form of work by 24 artists in response to issues around the pandemic. The project was published July 21 and can be visited at Yumpu.com, a Swiss based site at which on-line books/magazines can be created and shared. The response to ROUNDNESS has been gratifying with almost 1500 visits to date. Please click on the following link to view the exhibition: https://www.yumpu.com/en/document/view/63697012/roundness-arta-project-artists-respond-tocovid-19-pandemic

 

In March, an open, unrestricted call on Facebook invited artists to join in considering the concept of ‘roundness’. Any artist who wanted to participate was welcome. The artists were asked to make one piece and could work in any medium and size, because the images of their work were going to be exhibited on-line only. By early April, over twenty accomplished artists had taken up the invitation; some with numerous exhibitions, awards, and achievements, some at mid-career, and a few just starting out. There are printmakers, a film-editor, photographers, sculptors, painters, professors of art, fabric artists, and ceramists involved. Included are Manitoba artists C. Graham Asmundson, Colette Balcaen, Leona Brown, Connie Chappel, Cliff Eyland (d.), John Gurdebeke, Gilles Hebert, Nora Kobrinsky, Sacha Kopelow, Alan Lacovetsky, Link Phillips, Judith Stevens, Leesa Streifler, Susan Turner, and Calvin Yarush. Also participating are Canadian artists Susan Gold (Windsor), Rafael Goldchain (Toronto), Philippa Johnson (Kenora,) Jillian McDonald (New York), Mark Nisenholt (Thunder Bay), Michelle Zacharias (Saitama City, Japan), and US artists Berit Engen (Chicago), Carol Philips (Philadelphia), and Cynthia Beth Rubin (New Haven).

 

By the end of June, the artists had submitted images, brief statements about their work, and bios. The texts were then edited, images formatted, and the exhibition was graphically designed with software for the YUMPU site. The work deals with a range of subjects: political and conceptual concerns, the environment and biology, philosophical and cultural issues, and with change and impermanence.

 

ROUNDNESS is a project of ARTA, which is an ever changing and informal project-based Manitoba collective that was developed in 2017. Through ARTA, artists are invited to respond to specific concepts. In the projects, we make connections through our work, our ideas, and the varied approaches to issues and concepts we take. Previous projects include ‘Bookmark’, 2017 and ‘Illumination’, 2018, both of which involved 15 artists and were exchanges of small works. In 2019, ‘Space/Éspace’ (2019), a curated exhibition of work by six artists showed at La Masion des artistes visuels francophones, St. Boniface, which is an artist-run centre, and at Wasagaming Community Arts, Riding Mountain.

 

ROUNDNESS was supported by a micro-grant from the Manitoba Arts Council’s program ‘Connecting at a Distance’. The project with its ‘actual’ work has been accepted for exhibition in the spring of 2021 at La Maison des artistes visuels francophones. 

 
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