From Annette Polan (previously profiled here):
On March 11, 2020, the WHO declared Covid-19 a pandemic. On March 31st, 2020, I pasted an image of a paradoxically beautiful painting of the cross section of the coronavirus which I found in The Washington Post.
That began a visual journal of the Covid-19 pandemic that would occupy my studio time for the next 365 days. I named the project Covid Mandala; Meditations in an Emergency. It is a mixed-media collage, 101″h x 88.5″w, created from altered newspaper photos, archival digital print on transparent film, acrylic paint cast mulberry paper, and cotton to record what was happening in the world.
Covid Mandala now hangs at the Milken School of Public Health at GW University on Washington Circle, the perfect environment of this work of art. The Milken School did early research into the coronavirus and was instrumental in promoting social distancing and masking as tools to reduce the spread of the virus, and I am a Professor Emerita from the Corcoran College of Art at GW.
The Mandala, a circle in a square, has inspired me to develop a whole new series of abstract paintings to add to my repertoire of portraiture. I began with simple geometric shapes: rectangle, square, triangle defined with grids; and playing with the repetition of circles within grids.
Initially the new work felt like a wholly new kind of exploration, but as I submerged into this world of abstraction, I have rediscovered in the joy of paint, color, pattern familiar motifs that have occurred throughout my work over the years.
Aviva Kempner (previously profiled here):
Kempner’s preferred medium is documentary film. And she’s been busy. Kempner co-directed 2022’s Imagining the Indian: The Fight Against Native American Mascoting, and the film will be released in select theaters starting March 31st, including the Avalon Theatre on April 7th.
Another Kempner film is weeks from making its debut. A Pocketful of Miracles: A Tale of Two Siblings focuses on members of her own family: her mother and uncle. The film chronicles their lives in Poland before the Holocaust, and the lives they built afterward – Helen Ciesla Covensky as an abstract expressionist painter, and David Chase as a businessman and philanthropist who co-founded the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
The world premiere of A Pocketful of Miracles will take place on May 21st at the JxJ Film Festival in Washington, DC.
Are you a creator who lives and/or works in the Van Ness/Forest Hills/North Cleveland Park area of DC? We’d love to hear about your latest projects, works-in-progress, and exhibitions. Write us at [email protected].