Cathy Breslaw's Installation

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

Monday, June 15, 2020

Working in Isolation: One Artist in Dehli, India Shares Her Thoughts and Her Work

Most artists work in relative isolation.  Our collective art practices and the creative process demands it.  It goes against the human urge to congregate and socialize.  Still, we persevere as the 'call to create' nudges us.  We then deliberately make space - intellectually, emotionally and physically. We move forward quietly, with the 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 and relative comfort with the loneliness of self -containment.  

Artist Nidhi Agarwal who was born and raised in Dehli India, shares her experience with making art during this distressing and complicated  time. 

Agarwal comments: "I believe art becomes the best stage when a calamity happens. The calamity propels writers , artists and philosophers to dig deeper in the situation."

Painting Before the Pandemic:
Confiscated Conversations          Oil on canvas    36" x 48"      dyptich         2019

1) How has your work shifted during the pandemic? Has it been a change in the process of your creating art? The mediums you use? The themes or concepts you are thinking about?

I find just a little shift in my work . I basically work in a very liberal manner , rather undisciplined and shifting to mediums in a cycle. I saw myself taking more liberty in my thoughts and actions because some unknown pressure was released . My thoughts were more random and free flowing with a greater speed . I just sat and scribbled for months . Suddenly the impact of surroundings was defeated by my own reasonings and psyche. As the whole world was dealing with the crises , the crises impacts the minds more than it impacts us physically . People are anxious , they have the pandemic challenging their relationships , economy and growth . I kept working in small formats , only paper based . I had only this as my option because I was restricted to commute to my studio where i work on larger sizes . But yes , this restriction came in a quite positive way as I sat daily working, so the connection was really intense.

2) What have you discovered about yourself as an artist during this pandemic?

I see myself as unstopplable ;) . There is always a possibility left . Rather , the more challenging life gets , the work intensifies . Expressions intensify. I believe art becomes the best stage when a calamity happens . The calamity propels writers , artists and philosophers to dig deeper in the situation . This uncertainity is the best time to study human action and a great stimulus for production. This was amongst the best times when I felt my nerves.

 3) What have been your biggest challenges working in isolation? Surprises?

I need a window . But at htis point it was a blank wall in front . The table was too tiny. There was almost zero perspective in space for me to think or go lost in the oblivion. I could’t scatter . I couldnt leave my work station cluttered . Assemble and reassemble was expected . it’s a big hinderance in artistic conciousness . At times I felt lack of art materials . There was always a fear of running out of supplies. I am an impulsive worker. At that time a thought always flashed ….that - what if i was confined in a prison , or a hospital or a forest ?…then, I would be looking for some single piece of stick and a surface - a wall or earth where i could atleast draw. Just 2 simple things were required to express . And then , looking at my supplies , I gathered that I have in abundance already. At other instances I wanted the supplies to finish so that I look around to find something unconventional -may be from the kitchen . Though it never happened , but i was surprised that in the difficult pandemic situation I was more focused on art supplies than anything else. I must have my tools handy in any situation.

Painting During the Pandemic:

Mystic Enclosure    water color on paper    8" x  6"

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