Cathy Breslaw's Installation

Cathy Breslaw's Installation
Cathy Breslaw's Installation:Dreamscape

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Two Artists Responding to the Pandemic: Cathy Breslaw and Susan Osborn

article by Cathy Breslaw
link to entire exhibition including 95 artists:

Two Artists Respond to the Pandemic: Cathy Breslaw and Susan Osborn

Most artists work in relative isolation. Our collective art practices and the creative process demand it. It goes against the human urge to congregate and socialize. Still, we persevere as the “call to create” stubbornly nudges us. We then deliberately make space – intellectually, emotionally and physically – we move forward quietly, with intention and faith in the process.

Never have we been more aware of isolation than time spent in this Corona Virus pandemic environment. It is not our choice, but as artists we are familiar and in some ways ahead of the game over our fellow citizens by our familiarity with the loneliness of self -containment.  

 In early March, I received an email from Kristine Schomaker, fellow artist and writer/blogger announcing that she was organizing a collaboration offering artists to participate in a project Call and Response, with a group of artists’ “pairs”. Ninety-five artists responded and I was paired with Susan Osborn, a San Diego artist. This project was to be a way for artists to mitigate our feelings of isolation and to more importantly visually express what we are experiencing during this highly distressing time.

The task began with me to create an artwork and for Susan to respond. This “back and forth” was to continue with a time limit of April 1st. Limited to 24 hours, we were to create an artwork and email it back to our partner. During the process we each made 7 artworks for a total of 14 total pieces.

Susan and I had never met and had not been familiar with each other’s work.  In a way we were thrown together in friendship and faith, to trust in the process and to see what happened. In conversing about it after the fact, neither one of us knew what to expect and both of us were happy to be in contact with another artist during this difficult and scary time. We both also noted the comfort of the structure of “having to respond” in a visual way to one another on a daily basis. In a way it was like watching a silent film, ‘watching’ with only part of our senses in attempts to converse about what we were feeling and then ‘answer’ each other.

With only visual responses to depend on, we were forced to rely upon observing and studying very closely the language of the other – the emotion and energy, materials and compositions of each of our art pieces. Titling each art work gave each of us clues.

As an artist who makes work that is mostly abstract, it was challenging for me to create because I was conscious of whether the work could be relatively easily understood by Susan so that she could respond during our short 24 hour turn around time.

 #1(Latent Waves)Breslaw                                                                             #2(Latent Waves#2)Osborn