I’m writing this two weeks into the Caronavirus shutdown, early April, 2020. It was a fortnight ago today that I drove back into Lismore, relieved to be home, safe. I’d been in Gympie, in Queesland, installing my exhibition at the Regional Gallery. I’ve left it there for the six weeks it would have been on display to the public. Now, it’s just on display.
Normally at this time of an exhibition, in the weeks between hanging and pulling down, I rest. I spend time neatening after the chaos of preparation. I catch up with my friends. I lie in the sun and restore. I regroup gently, letting the idea of What Happens Next to arrive in its own time.
I’ve had two weeks of regrouping now, most of it spent inside.
And everyone else is doing it too.
The world sounds different out there.
It’s quiet. Even in this part of regional suburbia, days in the time of The Virus are eerily silent.
Like so many, I’m gardening and tidying more than usual. There’s suddenly time to notice, sort, and do something about those small piles of disorder I’ve not dealt with, both in the lead up to this show, and in the general busyness of being an art-businessperson.
I’m even cleaning up my website. I learnt a new widget and made an exhibition page with it. I found some pages I’d forgotten. I read words that I’d written in other times and other places.
Like this page I’d created in 2017 as a place to put my favourite paintings from projects whose pages were marked for deletion. I didn’t want to relegate those key works to an invisible history just because they’d sold or were now temporally superseded. They needed to be celebrated.
Re-reading the artist statement, which I’ve posted as this blog, I recognised its pertinence in this current time of enforced introversion.
It reminded me about the need to identify the important things, and keep them safe. Not is not the time for chucking things willy-nilly, physically or indeed metaphysically. Can’t anyway. Is Vinnies closed? I know the tip is.
Suddenly we have a chance to take stock. Evaluate with the luxury of time not normally afforded us, rather than impetuously, with deadlines’ heavy-handed brusqueness.
Let’s pick up the things on our bookshelves, remember how they ended up there. Only then should we discard. Or carefully replace, in order. Cherished.
Or, to mix a metaphor even further, let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater. It will be vital between now and when we get through this thing, to have kept the important things safe.