September 28, 2022
‘The Time Between’ exhibit features art created during pandemic – The Columbus Dispatch

‘The Time Between’ exhibit features art created during pandemic – The Columbus Dispatch

As COVID-19 was raging, artist Julia Hamilton devised a plan to honor the (at the time) some 400,000 victims of the pandemic.

She created a large, three-panel abstract painting in shades of blue with 400,000 pinpoint dots — “each signifying a lost soul.” And yes, she devised an ingenious plan involving a spread sheet and dried pasta to keep track of the dots. More on that later.

Hamilton’s painting, “400,000 Souls,” as well as about a dozen more works and an installation piece are on view in the Sean Christopher Gallery in the Short North. The exhibit, titled “The Time Between,” hints at a “time after,” when the pandemic will be over. All the works in the exhibit have been created during the pandemic and reflect the disease and its impact — or the turbulent political issues of the time.

“I didn’t immediately start doing pandemic art when the pandemic started because I didn’t know how bad it would get,” Hamilton said. “But I kept hearing that they were predicting 400,000 deaths — (the death count in the United States is well over 1 million now) — and I needed to understand that number.”

To create her painting, she used alcohol ink and acrylic pen on clay board. She called upon skills she uses in her day job as an information technology programmer to create an Excel sheet and a map of squares, upon which she would paint 400 dots each.

As she painted a certain number of dots, she would transfer one piece of dried pasta out of a bowl, keeping track of when she reached 400 dots by when the pasta bowl was empty. Then on to another square and another bowl of pasta until all 400,000 dots had been painted.

The result is a mesmerizing, curiously lovely painting that looks like a seascape or an outer space scene, textured with all those tiny dots. 

Hamilton allowed her paintings to get political as she celebrated the results of the 2020 presidential election. For “Winds of Change,” she employed fire, lighting her alcohol ink medium and allowing the flame to burn and create a partially bubbly surface. In the painting, a smooth blue orb rises from the chaotic orange and brown blistered base.

“Either Or” reflects her dismay at how rigidly politicized the two major American political parties have become. A large schism exists between the blue and red sides of the painting.

As she listened to the news — so often dire — Hamilton realized she was often holding her breath. “And Exhale,” painted in shades of green, blue and pink, reflects her experience.

Hamilton’s “Music Synthesizer” series was inspired by favorite songs including Radiohead’s “Reckoner,” David Bowie’s “Heroes” and The Beatles’ “The Long and Winding Road.”  A QR code beside each painting allows viewers to hear the music.

One room of the gallery is devoted to Hamilton’s installation piece, a work-in-progress continuing the theme of “400,000 Souls.” On industrial shelving, she’s placed blue glass boxes, each covered with tiny dots reflecting more COVID19 deaths. The March 2020 box, for instance, has 7,000 dots while the April 2020 box, reflecting a surge in deaths, has 66,000 dots. In a nod to the unending pandemic, Hamilton plans to continue the project.

Hamilton, a Columbus native with a Master of Fine Arts degree from Columbus College of Art & Design, still works as an IT specialist, but only part time, making time for her art.

She said she didn’t turn seriously to art until she was 45 — the age her father was when he died suddenly of heart disease. She said she thought about her genetics and that perhaps she should get busy doing more of what she loved and what she wanted her legacy to be. Now 60, she’s had 15 productive years — with more to come.

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At a glance

“The Time Between,” art by Julia Hamilton, continues through Aug. 27, at the Sean Christopher Gallery, 815 N. High St. Hours: 3:30 to 5:30 Wednesdays through Fridays; 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. the second and fifth Saturdays of the month; and 1 to 9 p.m. during the first Saturday of the month Gallery Hop. Call 614-327-1344 or visit seanchristophergallery.com.

Source: https://www.dispatch.com/story/entertainment/arts/2022/08/13/the-time-between-exhibit-features-art-created-during-pandemic/10269498002/

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