Eileen Woods and Barbara Vogel have historically made art about memory and mortality. COVID-19 pushed them to make new work that specifically focuses on a tiny fragment of the incomprehensible numbers of COVID deaths – as of this writing in early May of 2021; 3,227,458 worldwide.The Bright Side combines the artists’ pre-COVID work with their pandemic work.
Woods created a series of portraits of the elderly in an imagined moment when the subject is confronting the passage between life and death. Woods hand-embroidered the portraits on fabric that depicts the cosmos, the artist’s metaphor for death and beyond. When COVID hit, Woods decided to highlight a certain segment of the population decimated by the virus, nuns and priests. She hand-embroidered small black and white portraits of a group of 13 nuns from a convent in Livonia, and presents them in a large alter-shaped frame, each face in its own niche. The priests are depicted in hand-embroidered portraits that are embedded in resin, with text about each priest woodburned in fabric behind each. Woods selected a range of priests from around the world.
Vogel photographed vulnerable family and friends with an old Hasselblad film camera and a hand-held wand scanner. Prints were made, fused and painted with encaustic to add to their other-worldly quality. Vogel also has a ceramic installation that pays tribute to deceased Ohio artists that she has photographed, along with a companion biographical book.
Woods and Vogel hope that the virus pandemic is easing its grip by the installation of this exhibit. They also acknowledge that the history of this pandemic, like the plagues of the past, will not be erased. In the coming years, the artists believe the work will resonate in a different way, a reminder to the viewers of a time when we all shared a tragedy beyond any previous historical scale. That is equally important to the artists, along with paying tribute to past lives.
Free admission and parking – appointments are required. To schedule a visit to the Dublin Arts Council gallery visit: https://visitdublinartscouncil.as.me
Barbara Vogel is represented by Sherrie Gallerie.
Hand embroidery, fabric, plastic tubing
by Eileen Woods
Hasselblad camera, wax, pigmented wax, board
by Barbara Vogel
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