An artist pauses to reflect on isolation.

Posted by Fiona Cable on

Recently we have found ourselves in enforced quarantine due to the threat of CV19 - Delta variant presence in our community

I have had time to give some thought to the issue of enforced isolation and how it impacts artists and art making and why it’s impact is different to solitude by choice.

Art historically many artists have thrived in isolation and have sought their own company in order to work creatively alone. Pablo Picasso, Francis Bacon, Agnes Martin and Yayoi Kusama have all sought solitude for personal reasons. Unlike voluntary solitude, those forced into quarantine by external circumstances have had some degree of that creative choice taken away.

There are definitely creative possibilities emerging from this state of lockdown despite interpersonal contact restrictions but the time limit is unknown creating an ironic paradigm. The duality is between creative freedom and constraint, between the unlimited and the limited, the alone and the together and where these internalised worlds meet the external environment. The contest between these states can cause anxiety.

The art world is impacted by lack of gallery visits all round. Both the public and artists lose out on physical engagement with the creative dialogue except virtually which is not the same.

Art and artists provide a valuable barometer for culture and its concerns. The investigation, reflection and presentation of the issues of our times are there for the public to experience and engage with providing the link between creative ideology and commentary.

With the opening up of quarantine levels the opportunity for this vital dialogue can continue and artists will feel freer to be alone by choice or to engage with others in conversation.

Artist in lockdown Railway Street Gallery artists nz

K Carter, August 2021

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