This is the 186th installment of a series in which artists send in a photo and a description of their workspace. In light of COVID-19, we’ve asked participants to reflect on how the pandemic has impacted their studio space and/or if their work process has changed while quarantining. Want to take part? Please submit your studio! Just check out the submission guidelines.
I didn’t make art for decades; I started painting and drawing in the ’70s, but the most recent work in my web portfolio was made in 2001. When COVID-19 hit in NYC, we were living in an apartment in StuyTown; I took over the kitchen table for my day job and my children went to school remotely from one of the bedrooms. We didn’t leave the apartment at all for six weeks; after that, every excursion was planned to the last detail.
Some switch flipped and I started to sketch at night. My wife and children would be decompressing in the living room and I would sit at the kitchen table and obsessively make lines on printer paper. I imagined them in three dimensions but didn’t draw them that way; I didn’t have to.
In June, we went to a house in the midwest for the summer, for some space and relief. When NYC schools went fully remote, we decided to stay; we could always get back if we needed to. I took over the dining room table as my workspace. I turned those lines into things. In my mind, they are eight feet tall and made of steel.
Jean Foos, Governors Island, New York
This photo shows a corner of my studio on Governors Island this past August. In mid-July I was granted a four-month studio residency in an old house on the island. During the prior months of quarantine I had a set-up on my kitchen table to paint small sculptures. With this new opportunity, I wanted to work large. I decided to paint directly on the decrepit plaster walls, knowing they would eventually be repainted and the room returned to its original state. During those first wonderful days of taking the ferry back and forth we all stayed isolated and safe, believing almost no one would ever see the work. Normally during residencies, there are open studios, events, and visitors. The quarantine seclusion offered great freedom. I was inspired by the multitude of surfaces, dragging my brush across broken or smooth plaster, across wooden doors and baseboards. Soon, some of my earlier painting styles burst forth after having been long quashed. The initial painting got complicated with more layers. Due to the circumstances, I took care to document all phases. Now, walls repainted white, I’m back home at the computer — reviewing the sequence of images and reflecting on the development of my installation.
This is the place where I can dream during day or night, in Athens, Greece. My main medium of expression is painting. Especially during the global pandemic, my favorite route remains the journey within me, which, no matter how many times I repeat it, is always different. My research focuses on areas that relate to the concept of the network as labyrinth. Important buildings, routes, elements of contemporary popular culture, galaxies, city personalities and images, city sounds as waveforms, drawings and figures, are linked and presented in collages, grids, networks, and labyrinths.
At this time, I am particularly interested in the connections between people; we are all intertwined. The structure is the same as in brain cells, in computation networks, in aerial photography of metropolises, but also in microscopic images. Everything is rhythmically connected in a flow.
As arts communities around the world experience a time of challenge and change, accessible, independent reporting on these developments is more important than ever.
Please consider supporting our journalism, and help keep our independent reporting free and accessible to all.