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Art Under Lockdown – THE BOX

In the Box was the second theme in our series of workshops looking at how we were experiencing lockdown. The artists we chose for this session were the American painters Edward Hopper, Agnes Martin and the English Nigerian ceramic sculptor Lawson Oyekan. Edward Hopper’s works are all about the loneliness of human beings in the city, or in the manmade world. His paintings are about people locked into a world that should make them happy – in theatres, diners, nice looking sitting rooms and bedrooms. Yet they are isolated, set apart from one another and from their environment. For us, caught in the unnatural isolation of lockdown, these paintings struck a deep chord, particularly for those of us who had had little access to outdoor spaces. Agnes Martin offered a wonderful call to liberation and freedom, in the beauty of her grid paintings which calmed her own multitude of inner voices and allowed her to find a deep inner peace through the act of controlled creation. Her glorious canvases suggest a space within, which no external factors can truly disturb. Lawson Oyekan offers a similar vision, with his torn and jagged vessels, disrupting a sense of the world closing in. Light pours through the deliberate piercings in his pieces, reminding us of Leonard Cohen’s song, There is a crack in everything / That’s how the light gets in.

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