“Letters to Love” originated in June 2020, four months into the Covid-19 pandemic. I felt paralyzed, numb and unable to create anything for months. My need to paint and connect through art was aching. The first painting in the series titled, “Miss You” was a response to the deep sense of loss I felt –loss of normalcy, loss of human connection, loss of physical touch and loss of visible love. I felt isolated because like all of us, I was. I continued the series by researching authors like Rilke, Bertrand Russ, Bell Hooks, Sartre, countless poets and lyrics to love songs. Author’s philosophies on love combined with personal experiences came together to create more “Letters to Love”.
These notes aspire to provide a sense of connection and hope. Writing love notes on paper felt nostalgic and accessible. I hope to connect to the viewer in a way that is empathic and reliable through love, what I believe is our driving force and the glue that holds us together in this human experience. It felt good to focus on love when I was surrounded by fear of the unknown.
I focused on countering media coverage of the pandemic and politics with poetry, meditations and music. Rilke's "Letter's to a Young Poet" focuses on protecting solitude as an act love. I found this to be one of the most comforting and agreeable sentiments that helped make sense of the solitude I was initially internalizing as negative. The pandemic has given us an opportunity to pause, stay quiet and take care of each other in ways we have never experienced.
Oil on Panel
photo: Jay York