March 9, 2020 saw economic anchors lost due to the stock market plummeting over 2000 points, oil markets collapsing, and the coronavirus spreading like a tsunami approaching in slow motion, MS. PAC-MAN gobbling up one victim after another, death toll mounting rapidly. I made a notation on my calendar that day: “This, too, shall pass,” a standard way of thinking for me in rough times. After days of spiraling into extreme depths of anxiety and fear, mental paralysis set in; I felt unable to stop the swooning, dizzying control this thing had on me. I felt so alone and afraid that I knew I needed to be able to survive relatively intact, so I ended up in my studio. Fortunately, I had two 46” × 30” stretched, gessoed canvases awaiting me, and I just started applying paint and moving it around the canvas, with little to no thought or plan, which was the absolute best place for me to be. I just started with the first day I felt desperate enough to make a notation, March 9, 2020, and scrawled what simple truth, cliché, or whatever economical statement I felt at the moment. This activity has grounded me and given me a destination and a reason for being, if I need it.
The days passed, actually faster than I would have imagined, and I found myself leaning into the reduced life surprisingly easily, days going by, repetitive and monotonous. I marked off the days as they came and went, immortalizing them, forever inscribing them on my canvas. The activity has kept me sane for the most part. And, yes, I do have hope for a future of joy, kindness, and equality, finally.
Covid-19 Page 1,
acrylic on canvas, 46 ×30 inches
Covid-19 Page 2,
acrylic on canvas. 46 ×30 inches
Walk the Walk,
video, 3 min 7 sec.
On Moving On,
video, 3 min 10 sec.
In and Out,
1 min 27 sec.
Based in Lawrence, Kansas, Janet Davidson-Hues is a multi-disciplinary artist who often explores the cultural connections between language and women in her work. She earned her BA from Wake Forest University, an MA from Columbia University, and an MFA from the University of Kansas. She is a former assistant professor of art at Indiana State University. In 2007, Davidson-Hues collaborated with artist María Velasco to create Stop Look Listen, an installation at the Spencer Museum that included unpredictable wayfinding signage and audio components to actively engage visitors