My COVID TEST series is a set of four recently completed paintings based on photos captured during our family’s drive-through COVID-19 testing experience at Stony Brook University on Long Island.
We were the third car in line at the testing station on March 19th, the first day that drive thru testing became available in our area and the experience was quite surreal. Having had open heart surgery a year ago, and exhibiting some COVID symptoms, my cardiologist urged me to get tested, along with my wife and daughter. Suffolk County was one of the areas initially hit the hardest by COVID-19 within the United States.
I initially was hesitant to create these works based on the subject matter; however, I decided that instead of using my studio as an attempt to escape the pandemic, I would to use it as a way to address it. The creative process behind these works has been providing some level of catharsis within this very surreal situation. More will be revealed, as they say, and this too, shall pass.
My “techspressionist” style is informed, in part by the New York School Abstract Expressionists, as evidenced in the gestural ink-wash ground, which embraces the power of the accident and the subconscious mark.
The technical process behind these works takes a page, in part, from Pop-era artists such as Robert Rauschenberg and Andy Warhol, who recontextualized commercial means of production within their studio practices.
In the 1960’s, this translated into photo-silkscreen, which both Warhol and Rauschenberg incorporated into their paintings. However, unlike these artists, the photographs in my COVID works are not appropriated images, but original photographic content.
The modern equivalent is large-format digital printing. The photographs used in these works have been printed directly onto the painted surfaces with an Epson 9800, using an archival pigment based inkset.
Scroll down for some process images and video, as well as a set of small studies created to explore compositional ideas and to iron out process-related issues.