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Art Scene: 'How We Cope' offers online catharsis

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“How We Cope” in this time of pandemic is a question that artists are pursuing, and the title of an online exhibit curated by Maddie Hicks, co-owner of Collaboration Coffee. She feels that “it’ll go down in the history books as its own era of time for art.”

In her statement about the exhibition, Hicks writes that this is “a collection of art created around healing and processing during the time of the pandemic and sheltering in place. It represents an effort by us all to document what is real, to express all that we experience, light and dark. It represents an effort toward life, that we may emerge with a deeper sense of our sameness, of what unifies us. It is community.”

The artwork “Prayer Flags” shows four different colored masks hanging on a clothesline, reminiscent of Tibetan Prayer flags. For artist Jacqueline Beard, it is “an attempt to reconcile the surreal quality of the everyday in quarantine with the mundane routines that emerge as we adjust to this new normal — like washing our homemade masks and drying them on the backyard clothesline. These masks hold our prayers for the health and well-being of our family and our community.”

Stephen Stokesberry was “working on this project when ‘stay at home’ was implemented,” then became involved in mask making for Virginia Mason Memorial hospital. For his piece “Offcenter,” he thought “the two seemed appropriate together.”

“Flatten the Curve” by Jamaica Zoglman is “based on four different epidemiological models. The graphs depict what happens when a population does not change its behavior at all; when a portion of the population is placed under quarantine; when people practice moderate social distancing; and when people practice extensive distancing.” Zoglman “first saw these graphs in a Washington Post article in March and again when my friend Alicia Colasurdo painted them in her own style.”

“Since the pandemic began,” she says, “we’ve all looked at dozens of graphs and charts as we try to visualize what the numbers mean and what lies ahead. I think at a certain point we become overloaded with data. I wanted to show this very simple set of graphs, and give the viewer a reason to really slow down and look, to take his or her time.”

“Hands are so personal, and human touch is so important but so restricted right now,” says artist Esmeralda Vasquez, and she illustrates that in her piece “Forbidden Touch.” “We’re living in a time where lending a helping hand is so detrimental, but also extremely valuable.”

For all the artists in the online exhibit “How We Cope,” it is an effort to illustrate how the community copes as an individual and as a collective.

To visit the entire online collection, go to www.collabcoffeeyakima.com/gallery.

• David Lynx is executive director of the Larson Gallery at Yakima Valley College. Learn more at www.larsongallery.org.

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