[V] From An Artist's Home To Yours
By Mary Ann Strandell (USA)
Only weeks before Covid-19 exploded in New York City, Mary Ann Strandell, one of the renowned painters in the lenticular media field, and I agreed to prepare her first solo work showcase in JY&A Art Salon. Along with so many other undertakings in the works, our beautiful plan was suddenly put on hold (new opening day to be announced as soon as the quarantine is lifted). A few days after I sent out JY&A's first newsletter on April 6th (Create a new lifestyle out of the global crisis), Mary Ann sent me a long email in which she described her life and activities in the first weeks of the quarantine. Mary Ann sketched a life of isolation and solace with her husband, the artist Michael Rees, at their live/work home in New Jersey, with a poignant melancholy for the the energetic and healthy life that was forever changed by Covid-19. Here, Mary Ann Strandell depicts in her original email to me the salient moments of her daily life while maintaining unwavering faith and strength in her artistic career.
On Thu, Apr 9, 2020 at 1:31 PM From: Mary Ann Strandell To: Xiaoying Yuan, J. Yuan & Associates New York Hello Ying! Such an uplifting newsletter. Well done, thank you. I like your reference to Psychology today. Strangely, for me, I have been more tired than ever before. The first week in quarantine, Michael and I had flu symptoms, no appetite, and sleep all the time (not necessarily Covid flu symptoms). I had locked down my Chelsea studios on March 9th, and moved pertinent artworks to my NJ live/work studio.
I still juggle work and rest, and dedicate a little time connecting people to organizers making face-masks, shields and ventilator parts. I'm on the periphery. Michael is head-on. His group makes and ships over 2000 face shields a day. A group from NY and KC. MO is making a lot of face masks - Michael talks with them regularly. I sent out most of my good N95 masks and gloves to Doctors I know. My studio time has me working on new paintings, and touching up current works, including 3D Lenticular print media. I just wish I had more motivation. My back yard garden has been a good source of focus. Digging the earth and turning all the winter’s compost. Eventually I will plant seeds, and plants. My budget is so thin just yet, to buy plants. we shall see. I wish I could trade someone! Grateful to have it. The wild plant herbs are coming in, which has heightened my research on the edible ones, which also have medicinal components, too.
Mary Ann Strandell,Conversation Pit I, 3D lenticular media with interference Gold. Each work is unique with the hand painting under the optical lens. 21 x 32 in or 32 x 48 in. 2019
Yesterday, I made a wild fresh salad from green plants I snipped. Researching and using medicinal plants is one of my hobbies. I picked violet leaves (great for women), dandelion leaves, and their yellow blossom (all parts of the dandelion are edible packed with Vitamin C). I also picked Arugula that I planted last fall - it came back! And Bitter Cress - tiny round leaves, with a tiny white blossom. Just realized one of the wide herbs called "purple dead nettle" is great for the lungs, and allergies, and it gives one energy. That one I will dry, and make an infusion with, to multiply the properties.
My kundalini yoga practice has been the saving grace. My discussions with my teacher Tami, and the prayer services we have shared have been uplifting. We have friends who are very sick. One is on a ventilator in CO. My dear studio mate Helene Aylon died a few days ago. She was a great artist, and social activist in her work. We had not seen her in over a year. She only sent her studio assistants to the studio to take care of things there. Her gallery Leslie Tonkonow was doing more with Helen’s work, finally… very sad.
I am in a good space to be so inward, and deeply listening to the wise masters.
Making new work, that still combines my interest in modern architecture and the trade industries, seems to happen mostly at night. These new ones are only small sketches, but are all based on research while in China in 2018. Not ready to share, but they have good energy. I hope to send you soon the upgraded files for Duo Metro and Apple Green Stairs. The later is not radically different. Spent time shifting the tones and activating the oil surface. Duo Metro painting is more alive.