Artists cocooned, but expectant


After Taos artist Nicole Kowalski hit the nail on the head on Facebook March 18, noting that she wanted a new word for "the guilt associated with feeling a little bit happy about getting some time to make art," a few more artists talk of their imposed solitude:

Gretchen Ewert: "Norlynne Coar, Peggy Nes and I were planning our April show - 'Into the Light,' a popup at the Stables. We were very excited about it and the chance to work together. As March wore on it was clear our plans might run aground - an appropriate term for living on top of an ancient sea.

"We sat together at Norlynne's [March 13] around food and coffee, taking stock, when Gina [Gargone] at TCA alerted us we would have to cancel, that everything would be canceled through April 9. Aside from being disappointed, let-down, we decided to try again maybe next year in a warmer time of year so people can visit outside. The treat was going up into Norlynne's studio and seeing her beautiful work on canvas set up to be hung without stretchers. We took pictures of each other and finally went home. These are all uncharted plans in a rapidly changing future, so right now - staying put, staying healthy, doing something creative or creatively doing nothing."

Moriah Stanton at MoMo Taos: "I have decided to do a daily 'feature' on each of my artists on social media. I asked them to share something personal about their beginnings or the cathartic moment in which they decided to peruse art, etc. - anything that is more personal and less generic. I am hoping I can encourage a deeper bond between my clientele at MoMo and the artists I represent."

Sarah Bush: "Well, I decided to figure out how to offer my [TCA] artist's talk anyway after it got cancelled last Thursday (March 12) … I then did some Google searches until I found a local videography company that specializes in livestreaming … I've never done a livestream and am honestly not sure how it all will go, but I'm excited to find out [March 24]!"

Máye Torres: "We are going to continue business with our doors closed. Putting up window exhibits and working Facebook and Instagram to share the world-class art being made in Taos. It's our job as artists musicians poets writers to be torch carriers, and to continue to hold the light during this time of crisis. We will be conducting online shows, which people can submit freely to our Facebook site. We have our amazing website designed by Kyle and Nick Mossman aka SeeDreams. For now our lineup of shows has been postponed until we know it is safe to interact again. I would be really sad to see that art openings become things of the past. Now we have some time to work on creating new images to inspire our new world."

Rob Nightingale - Wilder Nightingale Fine Art: "Mentally an up-and-down roller coaster of emotions and confusion. I put a "Closed. By appointment only" sign in my window. As luck would have it some clients came by and I saw them and let them in. They made a purchase!"

Patience Heyl - Fine Art Atelier of Taos: "This morning I watched a caterpillar pull itself across the cushion on my lawn chair. It moved rather quickly using all those tiny legs. As I watched this performance, I was reminded of the seeming confinement a caterpillar passes through before emerging as a butterfly. It must be indeed, a pretty sticky situation as it finds itself in that tight cocoon. Most profound of all, the caterpillar never makes a sound.

"We don't hear or see a struggle going on in spite of what appears to be a loss of freedom and impending limitation. Like much of nature, there is no complaint, just a resting in this transformational state. Finally, there emerges a butterfly … what a wonder. Where did the caterpillar go? Nowhere. The same being, but now with wings.

"Somewhat cocooned in this challenging time of adversity, I find myself relating to the tiny caterpillar. I will be still, grateful and expectant of renewal in ways I have not yet to know."

And, spurred on by "social distancing," Kowalski coined some new words on FB: "downward sviral - the state of reading news article after news article until one finds oneself in a fetal position in the corner"; and "pantastic - the unexpected pleasant moments brought on by forced time alone with family."

- Compiled by Virginia L. Clark

Calls for entries

Send in your social isolation portraits

• The Taos Center for the Arts seeks self-portraits for a virtual exhibition during this unusual time that speak to the experience of voluntary and mandatory isolation: "Portraits in Social Isolation, 2020." Deadline is March 25, at 9 p.m. We are home from school and work and routine; we are laid-off. And yet we remain connected to each other in this experience. The TCA Art Committee and staff will curate. See submission guidelines at Email images to with your full name and title of your image. One submission per artist/individual. Works will be exhibited March 27 through April 30 on This exhibition is free to enter. If you have questions about formatting, reach out.


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