Welcome to Art of The Isolation Issue 05, September 2020:
a curated collection of works made by artists from around the world, while in isolation during the outbreak of the Covid-19 virus.
In this issue...

Eszter Papp
Bali, Indonesia

Our Social Distance is a personal documentation project born out of frustration from the physical-distancing imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Unable to physically create photographic portraiture, and interact with subjects, I have been experimenting with online video via livestream to test the boundaries of the creative constraints we find ourselves in 2020. The subjects are also asked to share about their lockdown and write down their thoughts on what their dreams, hopes and wishes are and what kind of world they want to live in after Covid.

The series is a creative adaptation to these times and a way to show the various ways people worldwide are morphing their behaviours, routines and lives to adapt to their new realities.

It also poses questions on the future of photography and the ever-increasing role of screens in our lives. What does the future of photography look like? Will phones, computers, tablets and other devices move further into the photographic conversation? Will we see a rise of photography through screens, and if so, what obstacles and opportunities will this afford us? Is the screen a distortion of reality or a reflection of our 2020 times?
The project began in March 2020 and is ongoing. To date, I have taken portraits of people in The United States of America, Indonesia, Hungary, Israel, Singapore, Denmark, Italy, Thailand and New Zealand.

This has been a learning photographic experience for me. I have found unique relationships forming with subjects online through the screen. Even though I am photographing strangers, the encounters also turned into conversations, first meetings in a new social environment.

At times, the process has felt restricted in terms of image quality and internet limitations, however, it has also been liberating to create something new and different. I hope many people can access the same feeling in different ways during this period and use it as a time to reset and re-evaluate our values.

- Eszter

Daniel van Benthuysen
Huntington, NY

That’s Renee, my wife in the chair reading while I’m setting up my portable paint box. The empty seats next to her seemed to accentuate her solitude, or my absence. All of my work touches on or features varying degrees of isolation. In my last hundred paintings or so only three human figures have made an appearance. And while nobody would seriously consider this a portrait, everyone who knows Renee has recognized the way she holds herself here. We were on Shelter Island for a weekend and we went outside together, I to paint, and she to read.
Artists get used to working alone like this, even if in the presence of others. The solitude seems to sharpen one’s focus. But this doesn’t mean we’re “loners” or anti-social. On the contrary, at some point I need Zoom, or FaceTime, or Google Hangouts to rejoin friends and family. I can only spend so many hours priming canvases and cleaning brushes. How clean do these brushes have to be anyway?

- Daniel
Afternoon Reading, Oil on Canvas

Marcel Veldman
Amsterdam, Netherlands

It was an eerie sight, to see my dear Amsterdam without any people on the streets, not a tourist in sight. It was very quiet and peaceful, it felt like the city could finally take a deep breath and relax. And you got to see, feel and hear it’s true beauty. You could even hear the birds sing in the Red Light District…Yet on the other hand you couldn’t, and still can’t, stop thinking how this new world affects people, physically, mentally and financially.
Days became weeks, weeks became months. My thoughts wander all over the place, as does to some degree my mental state at times. Ups, downs, and anything in-between. Like a silent rollercoaster. In fact, to this day I feel like I still need to wake from a bad dream.

- Marcel

Lindsey Kretschy
Medford Lakes, NJ

Being able to lean on art-making as an outlet during the unsettling daily shifts of this ongoing crisis has been invaluable and grounding for me. In addition to my personal process, I also collaborated with another artist during the quarantine to create and share a space for collective artistic expression. At a time of forced isolation and indefinite ambiguity, finding someone with a mutual fervor for a specific art media was igniting.
While we can’t ignore the far-reaching personal, professional, economic, and social impacts of the COVID-19 shutdown, we also can’t overlook the extensive and significant value of creative partnerships when we need connection the most.

- Lindsey