The Capital City Arts Initiative presents its exhibition, Lockdown, with art by Paula Chung, Nancy Raven, and Ted Rips at Western Nevada College’s Bristlecone Gallery, 2201 W. College Parkway, Carson City.
The exhibition is in the gallery through Dec. 22.
The gallery is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.
This exhibition presents work made by three artists during the 2020 COVID-19 crisis. Each artist began their project either as a way to memorialize the ongoing COVID deaths, to protect themselves from the lockdown’s isolation, or just as a way to keep busy — or all three.
When the COVID-19 pandemic began and then grew worse, Chung felt personally compelled to respond in some way, to memorialize the people who had lost their lives to the virus. She chose a spiral as a symbol of life for this work titled Requiem.
Using rolls of Japanese rice paper, called Dragon Cloud, as a foundation for her machine embroidery, she began stitching one oval for each life lost. She uses two different colors of thread through the needle of her sewing machine to increase the depth of the thread color, currently, using blue and orange. Each paper scroll is 60’ x 11” and holds an estimated 8,684 spirals. Chung tracks her progress on a calendar and to-date has made about 338,000 spirals on 40 scrolls extending to over 1/3 of a mile. With her husband and pet cats, Paula divides her time between the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe and southern California.
Nonagenarian and Carson City resident Nancy Raven reacted to the COVID lockdown with a burst of energy and began carving printmaking blocks. In the early 1950s, her then fiancé and later husband was in Japan and sent her a letter every day that included a small drawing on outsides of the envelopes. In 2020, she used these drawings as a point of reference and revisited decades of her own notebooks to make the six-dozen small prints.
Using linoleum-blocks and printing on black paper, Raven created several series based on Kids, Geishas, Landscapes, and Japan. After printing, she then hand-colored each image. She said, “I had his letters and all these sketch books from the years when my children were little and doing these prints was a good way to pass the time during the lockdown. I worked with the images that I loved.”
Ted Rips’ 400+ glass cubes were born from the days of lockdown isolation and he counted those days in brilliant color. He also built some mostly black cubes to represent COVID itself and some white ones representing antibodies. Rips said, “As our nation began slipping into an unimaginable tragedy, this project began as way for me to regain some sanity. Locked down under our southern California stay-at-home order, I decided to get off the couch, walk away from the TV, and try to get creative in my studio. This gave me the chance to express myself in a way I never imagined. Confined to a 2” x 2” x 1 3/4” format and using glass as my medium, I created Covid-Cubes to mark time in isolation, create a unique color study, and to memorialize this once-in-a-lifetime event. When the story is finally told, I think someone will write about the fact that many people actually found themselves in 2020. People learned to write, create poems, make music, adapt in ways we never thought we could. Some artists like myself, who doubted our talent, found it.”
Chris Lanier, professor of digital art at Sierra Nevada University, wrote the exhibition essay for Lockdown which CCAI will publish as a gallery handout and archive online. Working in digital animation, web production, and comics, Lanier enjoys producing hybrid forms. His animations have screened at Sundance, and he won the Grand Prize for Internet Animation at the Ottawa International Animation Festival. His art criticism essays have appeared in numerous online and print publications, including The Believer, Comics Journal, HiLobrow, Furtherfield, Rhizome, and the San Francisco Chronicle.
Carlos Ramirez, a Western Nevada College Latino Leadership Academy student, provided a Spanish language translation of the show’s wall text.
For information, visit CCAI’s website at www.ccainv.org.