Red: The Color of the Times
At the beginning of the year I had begun drawing on top of my ghost prints. I wrote two blog posts about that process and you can see them by clicking here. It wasn't until March that things took shape and became a little more meaningful.
As the COVID pandemic made its way to New York and other areas of the States, a group of artists friends got together via Zoom to check in on how we were all doing physically and mentally with our new world. Before I go further into the work, I should perhaps go into who these individuals are.
A few years ago a group of Queens based artist decided to get together for monthly art critiques in our studios and living rooms. We talked about art of course but we also hung out and talked about different things going on and maybe about people we shared in common. As with most get togethers there was plenty of adult beverages flowing and lots of fun times to be had. The monthly "crits" (what us artists call critiques) helped us all a great deal with our work, sometimes the advice of your peers can really be the key to a break through. Over the years we've all parted ways as some of our member moved away. As COVID paralyzed the world we reunited virtually, at the time we knew life will never be the same again and we also realized that as artists, our practice and business was going to be dramatically changed. We wanted to respond to the current events, and in the days shortly after we created a formal collective called The QNS Collective and launched an online platform.
We launched our website with the opening of an online exhibition and virtual gallery tour, called TERRA INCOGNITA. For this exhibition we created pieces that incorporated the ideas of maps, uncharted territories, and the changing earth. This exhibition was our way of responding to a global situation using our own language and sensibilities.
As I worked on the new drawings for the exhibition I kept thinking about the color red and it's meaning to the time we are living in. As COVID began to spread all we saw in the news was the map of the world covered in red dots for the areas where the virus had a major effect. The illustrations for the virus itself were the color red, and as we all know the universal color for emergencies and danger is red. I began to think about creating landscapes in a bright red ink, the most unnatural hue for something that historically is depicted in shades of green and earth tones. I was entering uncharted territory, which tied into the theme of the exhibition and thus this is how the new red drawings have come about.
How would a "bloody red" landscape be perceived? Would it make people uncomfortable or would it have the opposite effect? To my surprise the images turned out warm and welcoming, and I still can't figure out how. So far I have only made four red ink drawings, but I have a strong feeling that I will continue exploring this idea and let it take me to a different space in my work.