August 3- 28, 2021
The Pandemic has been a year of catharsis. Like any tragic hero suffering from hubris, all of humanity came to its knees and just about gouged out its own eyes. It wouldn’t be fair to say technology had no benefit – it’s been crucial to pulling us out, after all. But all our developments, all our progress, so many of the things we thought mattered so much, became all but irrelevant in the face of this microscopic virus that crept in and devastated our bodies, our livelihoods, our families, our culture. The Pandemic has
Pandemic has been a year on pause. Everything closed. Everyone had to stay home. Families went unvisited, friends went un-hung out with. Plans were delayed, or even nixed altogether. The world collectively held its breath. What are those best laid plans? The Pandemic has been a year of change. People lost or changed jobs. Long-time staples of businesses closed for good. The political tide shifted. Some steps we took forward, others backward. What will we take away from all this?
Most of all, the Pandemic is ongoing: though we seem to be coming out of the worst of the plague itself, this historic event, and all the others that accompanied it, will reverberate with us for a very long time. Four full generations will spend the rest of our lives feeling the lasting impact and implications. Perhaps the lingering question is now the biggest: What now? At Blackfish Gallery we, like everyone, felt the cannon ball to the gut that was this past year. We closed for three months and rescheduled shows, and in the meantime we came up with ad-hoc shows in record time to fill the space. The shows that did happen as scheduled saw none of the usual openings or crowds, much less sales, that the Pearl’s traditional First Thursdays have reliably brought for twenty years. Galleries closed and we worried that we might too. We looked ahead at a bumpy time, trying to mark endpoints where there wound up being none; it just kept going. As a community, we held on – to each other, to our little collective, to our family. We pinched pennies, we compromised priorities, we struggled together, commiserated and encouraged and supported each other.
It wasn’t all bad. We didn’t implode and have to close – thanks in no small part to the ingenuity, cooperation, and hard work of our members, as well as our incredibly kind and generous landlords. Necessity drove us to establish more of an online presence requiring PR organization like we’d never seen. Our team revamped our website and generated virtual development that expanded our audience across the globe. We had a brand new Director whose mettle was tested to the full and who wound up being perfect for stepping up to the "Pandemic Plate". Some members had to step back and sit down for a time, due to health concerns and vulnerability to the virus, and other members just took up the extra load and pushed on to see the things get done. It’s kinda the Blackfish Way.
None of us was left unaffected. Every artist in our family was impacted by the Pandemic is some way, even the ones whose shows went forward as scheduled. Some put noses to the grindstone and created like never before – for the socio-politically minded artists, there was no shortage of material. For others, the time was there but the motivation to create wasn’t: as deer in the headlights many were frozen, uninspired to do anything, even preserve some peace of mind through creation. So whether people went new directions and tried out new things, techniques or media, or whether they doubled down and exploded with drive in continuing on an existing trajectory, this exhibition is an expression of our combined experience as a cooperative collective, of a family that hunkered down together and did our best to see ourselves and one another through. This is a snippet of our own catharsis.
FEATURING: Rita Alves, Don Bailey, Carol Benson, Kelsey Birsa, Barbara Black, Clint Brown, Myra Clark, Jana Demartini, Jen Fuller, Kanetaka Ikeda, Michael Knutson, Paul Missal, Monica Mitchell, Rory ONeal, Angela Passalacqua, Stephan Soihl, Mandy Stigant, Steve Tilden, Sue Tower, Janice Yang