Artists: Paula Chung, Nancy Raven, and Ted Rips
Artists’ reception: Tuesday, October 5th, 5:00–6:30 p.m.
Artists’ introductions: 5:30 p.m.
Capitol City Arts Initiative
WNC Bristlecone Gallery
2201 W. College Parkway
Carson City, Nevada
Gallery hours: M–F 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The Capital City Arts Initiative presents its exhibition, Lockdown, with art by Paula Chung, Nancy Raven, and Ted Rips at Western Nevada College’s Bristlecone Gallery, 2201 W College Parkway, Carson City. The exhibition will be in the gallery from October 5–December 22, 2021. CCAI and WNC will host an artists’ reception on Tuesday, October 5, 5:00–6:30 p.m.; artist introductions at 5:30pm — the public is cordially invited. The gallery is open to the public, M–F, 9:00 a.m.–7:00 p.m.
Lockdown presents work made by three artists during the 2020 COVID-19 crisis. Each artist began their project either as a way to memorialize the ongoing COVID deaths, to protect themselves from the lockdown’s isolation, or just as a way to keep busy — or all three.
When the COVID-19 pandemic began and then grew worse, Paula Chung felt personally compelled to respond in some way, to memorialize the people who had lost their lives to the virus. She chose a spiral as a symbol of life for this work titled requiem. Using rolls of Japanese rice paper, called Dragon Cloud, as a foundation for her machine embroidery, she began stitching one oval for each life lost. She uses two different colors of thread through the needle of her sewing machine to increase the depth of the thread color, currently, using blue and orange. Each paper scroll is 60′ × 11″ and holds an estimated 8,684 spirals. Chung tracks her progress on a calendar and to-date has made about 390,000 spirals on 45 scrolls extending to over 1/3 of a mile. With her husband and pet cats, Paula divides her time between the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe and southern California.
Nonagenarian and Carson City resident, Nancy Raven, reacted to the COVID lockdown with a burst of energy and began carving printmaking blocks. In the early 1950s, her then fiancé and later husband was in Japan and sent her a letter every day that included a small drawing on the outsides of the envelopes. In 2020, she used twelve of his drawings as a point of reference and revisited decades of her own notebooks to make the six-dozen small prints. Using linoleum-blocks and printing on black paper, Raven created several series based on Kids, Geishas, Landscapes, and Japan. After printing, she then hand-colored each image. She said,
I had his letters and all these sketch books from the years when my children were little and doing these prints was a good way to pass the time during the lockdown. I worked with the images that I loved.
Ted Rips’ 400+ glass cubes were born from the days of lockdown isolation and he counted those days in brilliant color. He also built some mostly black cubes to represent COVID itself and some white ones representing antibodies. Rips said,
As our nation began slipping into an unimaginable tragedy, this project began as way for me to regain some sanity. Locked down under our southern California stay-at-home order, I decided to get off the couch, walk away from the TV, and try to get creative in my studio. This gave me the chance to express myself in a way I never imagined. Confined to a 2″ × 2″ × 1¾″ format and using glass as my medium, I created Covid-Cubes to mark time in isolation, create a unique color study, and to memorialize this once-in-a-lifetime event. When the story is finally told, I think someone will write about the fact that many people actually found themselves in 2020. People learned to write, create poems, make music, adapt in ways we never thought we could. Some artists like myself, who doubted our talent, found it.
Chris Lanier, professor of digital art at Sierra Nevada University, wrote the exhibition essay for Lockdown which CCAI will publish as a gallery handout and archive online. Working in digital animation, web production, and comics, Lanier enjoys producing hybrid forms. His animations have screened at Sundance, and he won the Grand Prize for Internet Animation at the Ottawa International Animation Festival. His art criticism essays have appeared in numerous online and print publications, including The Believer, Comics Journal, HiLobrow, Furtherfield, Rhizome, and the San Francisco Chronicle.
Carlos Ramirez, a Western Nevada College Latino Leadership Academy student, provided a Spanish language translation of the show’s wall text.
Western Nevada College is a component of the Nevada System of Higher Education with campuses in Carson City, Douglas County, and Fallon. CCAI is an artist-centered nonprofit organization committed to community engagement in contemporary visual arts through exhibitions, illustrated talks, arts education programs, artist residencies, and online activities.
The Initiative is funded by the John and Grace Nauman Foundation, Nevada Humanities and the National Endowment for the Humanities, Nevada Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts, Kaplan Family Charitable Fund, U.S. Bank Foundation, Southwest Gas Corporation Foundation, Steele & Associates LLC, and CCAI sponsors and members.
The Governor’s Office of Economic Development provided additional support through its Nevada Pandemic Emergency Technical Support Grant for 2021.
top image, right: Ted Rips; Covid-Cubes; 400 glass cubes; 2” x 2” x 1 3/4” each, installation 48″x48″; 2020
2nd image, left: Nancy Raven; Memories; linoleum-blocks printed on black paper, hand-colored; series of 75, 4.5”x4″ each; 2020
3rd image, right: Paula Chung, Requiem, detail, spirals embroidered on Japanese paper; 60’x11″ each, 40 scrolls to date; 2020 – 2021
bottom images: Lockdown exhibition flier