The piece is being updated by students as part of a Brown University Arts and Initiative Grant. The Bots have become part of a class offered through the engineering dept. on arts and robotics titled: The Robots are Coming, The Robots are Coming. The class is co – taught by Iris Bahar and myself this semester. It’s been a blast.
Join us on January 12th at 6:00pm for a Facebook Live Event for an interview with Maine Artist Eva Rose Goetz. The Event marks the opening of her new exhibition “What Was That?” on view at Elizabeth Moss Galleries until Februray 6th 2021.
Elizabeth Moss Galleries, 251 US-1 Falmouth Maine, 04105.
Original Story: Portland Press Herald – Dec 27th 2020
Written By: Bob Keyes
Photo: Brianna Soukup
Artist Eva Rose Goetz, 68, converted an upstairs room at her South Portland home into a studio and painted her way through the pandemic, Black Lives Matter and the turbulent presidential election. Beginning Jan. 5, she will show her paintings at Elizabeth Moss Galleries in Falmouth.
“When I heard that we were going to be asked not to leave our houses,” Goetz said, “I gathered up paints and supplies and all the canvases I hadn’t used yet, packed them in my car and brought them home. I was working in this teeny little room upstairs. It’s amazing what you can do in a little room. I felt so safe here. I felt so safe in a world that was telling me I was unsafe. At first, did we all know how airborne it was? I don’t think we did. Remember, we were all washing our groceries?
“Do you remember, pretty soon after that, planes had stopped? Cars had stopped. Do you remember we were seeing these satellite photos of how the air was clearing all over the world? And many of us who are concerned about the environment and climate change, we said, ‘Holy – whatever!’ Look what we could do if we wanted to, if we could just stop, and start looking at things differently and re-examining our actions. For many of us, it opened our eyes in a whole different way.
“My paintings have followed the year chronologically, as current events, but they have also followed it emotionally. The tenor and mood of what has been going on in the nation are reflected in my paintings. I have worked harder this year than I ever have, following my own rhythm, my own whims.
“One of the positive things that came out of this year, my kids, who are adult children, came home. One came home from Mexico. I think she got the last plane out before Mexico closed down. And my other daughter, who was in Boston, also felt it was best to come home. So everyone was here. It is a gift to have our adult children around us, and my relationship has deepened with both of them, which has been so wonderful.
“I am feeling positive. I think many of us realize we have a lot work to do. I am hoping. But it is going to be a lonely winter. I will be moving in with some friends in Duluth, Minnesota, who have invited me to come, and I am excited about that. I am ready to be in a cozy, familiar, inter-generational situation, and I think it will be fun. I have never spent a winter in Minnesota. I did buy some nice warm boots. I have my cross-country skis. I am ready to go.”
– Bob Keyes
When the country shut down in March, my Think A Bot It robot team and I were alerted that the USA engineering STEM festival which we and the Robots had been invited to, was cancelled. The Think A Bot It exhibit had just had a successful showing at Cove Street Arts. I had been spending time fundraising for traveling the exhibit. Shocked and stopped in our tracks, I regrouped. ( A professor at Brown University is still interested in bringing Think A Bot It to RI and has been writing grants that will allow the Robots to be part of an art and science curriculum – a whole other story :).)
The impacts of the pandemic were tragic; people began dying at alarming rates.
Hearing Boston had shut down, knowing Maine was not far behind, I gathered supplies from my studio and brought them home. Painting was to become my refuge. I lived alone and was isolated like so many, and was searching to understand and reflect upon living within and through a pandemic. How does one paint about something so big while existing inside of its immensity. We were all in this together.
When each painting was finished I posted it on FB with commentary. Posting the paintings was not only about sharing the paintings, assuaging my loneliness, it was about communing with others. I was soon to realize that engagement around my art was important not only for myself, but others too who were moved to comment. The painting allowed a space for people to begin to voice feelings that were arising. We were all craving opportunities for engagement. Sometimes over a hundred folks would engage (!) in general 30 to 60 people. We were venting, commiserating and dreaming and questioning together.
#12 The Faithful, 24”x24”
When we moved deeper into the pandemic, I asked folks to reflect on the world that had ‘stopped’.
I asked “What kind of world would you want to see?” I incorporated their visions into paintings, engaging in dialogue about what could/would a sustainable world look like.
Here were some of the thoughts left on my FB wall: “Something new is born.” “Kindness is released.”
Todd R. Nelson contributed a stanza from The Cure of Troy by Seamus Heaney. “I’ve taken this stanza for inspiration from poem IV.” he said.
‘That means someone is hearing
The outcry and the birth-cry
Of new life at its term.
It means once in a lifetime
That justice can rise up
And hope and history rhyme.’
The painting above, The Faithful, was inspired by what folks offered.
However, at the beginning of the series, I was simply documenting, and somewhat removed. Remember, I was coping too. My thoughts were to paint/reflect events in a joyful narrative style; so maybe, we as a community might be better able to digest what was happening around us and talk about it. The series was titled GREETINGS FROM A NEW WORLD.
#1 Greetings from a New World: 24” x 30”
We learned that possibly bats and pangolins or pigs in Wuhan had spread the virus to humans; some surmised it was an escaped Bio Weapon. In America we were advised to social distance and greet each other by tapping elbows.
Masks were optional at the beginning. Information came at alarming speed. Some ‘truths’ about the pandemic contradicted each other. We would come to find the President knew how contagious this virus really was and chose to downplay the facts so as “not to alarm folks”.
#3 Easter, 24” x 24”
We were told in March, by President Trump, that the pandemic would be over by Easter. Ah, the Easter surprise. Yes irony was part of the series.
#2 And The Air Cleared, 24” x 24”
Planes stopped and sequestered in place we drove less. My own mother, 93, lives in Dallas. The planned March trip to visit with her was cancelled. Colleges and schools shut down. My two adult daughters, young activists, who had been living away, made their way back to Maine so we could all be in the same place. Having the kids close over the summer was one of the gifts of Covid. And as the world stopped pictures emerged of pollution clearing from smoggy cities around the world. My community and I wondered would we remake capitalism within environmental confines? Would Green New Deals frame us toward the ‘real’ costs we place on the environment and develop new ways of doing business?
The virus was laying bare the many inequities sewn within the fabric of our land, and my heart filled with despair. Those whose work depended on children being able to attend school and with no child care available had to stop working. Working families children, with poor internet connection or without computers would suffer. Children with learning differences would suffer. Neighborhoods of color proportionally, were impacted far more than their white counterparts. Health was not equal. And who received and gave care was not equal. Many POC were on the front lines. The reasons found within systematic racism.
# 7 Shelter In-No Place, 24”x 24”
Homeless and other communities with no placement can neither sequester or shelter in place. My dear friend works with the homeless in MN. Hearing his stories, which I do almost weekly, impact me deeply. I paint a painting about having no home to shelter within.
#5 Comforts, 24”x24”
As our federal leaders fail, our Governors become heroes. Governor Cuomo becomes a model of what leadership might look like, as he begged for PPI from the federal reserves. And as hospitals became overcrowded and staff stretched beyond capacity Governors Cuomo called for help. And healthcare assistance answered the Governor’s call, arriving from around the country. The Navy sent Hospital Ship Comfort to New York. We were in this together.
#13 Dreamers, 24”x24”
In May I asked my community dream a new world with me: Nance Goucher offers “the interconnectedness of community and between humanity and nature. We are all in this together.” Rebecca Booth offers Humans tending to the plant forms and listening to their healing properties and whatever else they have to communicate to us.” Joa Marquis offers “People living i n harmony. Fine tuning our telepathic technology.” I offered up a painting. Portraying the ones who work between time and dimension.
My daughter Serena and her friend are living here. I’m painting in a small room upstairs. Serena is downstairs on calls with other activists around the country. She is a founder of Never Again Action. Their conversations become the soundtrack for my paintings. And daughter Ana, is living in Portland at my ex husband Larry’s small condo.
#8 Sheltering in Group Homes 24”x24”
Larry presently resides in an assisted living facility at Piper Shores. We tune in daily, anxious, hearing how Covid-19 rampages thru congregate living facilities. For safety, Piper Shores closes down. When the facility does open to visitors a few months later, visits will be held for a half an hour twice a month, allowing only two people to visit a loved one at a time. The visits will only be allowed outside. An attendant will sit close by making sure everyone stays masked and 10 feet away from each other. My friend’s Mother in law passed away in a dementia facility from Covid. The family was unable to visit her while she was dying. The sadness of the times becomes a backdrop for us all. My own cousin died of complications other than Covid. Unable to gather or travel, I attended both funerals on Zoom.
In the middle of the summer I came down with pneumonia; having my own Covid scare.
#10 Cages, 24”x24”
Daughter Ana, who speaks fluid spanish and has worked on the boarder accompanying undocumented folks into Arizonia, was spending her time fundraising for food in an undocumented community in NJ whose members had contracted Covid. Ana having been arrested and held at the border in Arizona, detained for essentially doing her job, was also engaged in a lawsuit that the ACLU had brought to the courts in hers and two other aid workers’ names. ACLU was taking Customs and Border Patrol to court for intimidation tactics used against aid workers, preventing them access to folks in need. They miraculously would win this case. My kids are amazing. This also was the backdrop I worked in as I painted.
#6 Shelter In Place, 24”x24”
Personally, I chose not to leave the house even though I have a studio in town. I found comfort in the small quarters I painted within and felt safe at home. It was strange to pull in so much. Loneliness – it did become an issue. Sequestered, we hear about the increase of domestic violence. For several weeks, before my daughters arrived, I hardly saw anyone. And like everyone else, online communities became my outlet.
The virus became more politically divided. One side asking us to wear masks to protect each other and ourselves. The other side eschewing masks: tying the wearing of masks with independence and freedom. Trump was at war with his own medical advisers. The discord heightened everyone’s anxiety.
#15 Whose Breath 24”x30”
George Floyd is murdered. We collectively gasp. The violent cruelty of brutal police action now flapping like white sheets drying in the wind. Cries of defunding the police become communal cries from communities who have suffered so much death in the name of law enforcement. We grapple to understand the scope of what our POC’s have known for years – they are unjustly targeted. WE as a country finally see that racism is undeniable and can no longer lie undercover. Social movements already in place organize and we all take to the streets! America splits apart and we are hurting. Trump fans the fire’s of hate, finding division is politically good for him. Different news outlets in power take a stand as they try to tell the story. Trump declines to denounce white supremacy during a Presidential debate and continues with theatrics of ‘ othering’; delighting his base. I paint about this as well.
#17 Say Their Names 30”x30”
John Lewis would die. His funeral would become a requiem for social justice. As we went to church we all were schooled. Breonna Taylor is shot while sleeping by 3 plain clothes police who enter her house. Rayshard Brooks fell asleep in the wrong place and ended up dead at policing’s hands. Daniel Prude, a mentally ill man needing help, not death, is shot too by police and dies.
#19 Pants on Fire 30”x30”’
Social Activism brings communities together in new ways as many take to the streets protesting the inequities found in the halls of systematic racism.
#16 Church and State 24” x 36”
The world was becoming more absurd. My online community hurt, reacted and expressed. Almost 300 folks left comments when I posted the above painting. Amidst the unacknowledged, pain and anger circling our country, Trump stages his own action; clearing protesters to the side with military tactics, he brings ‘church’ into ‘state’. And standing near a historic house of worship, holding a bible upside down, he calls for law and order.
#1 Fly Rhymes with Lie 10”x 10”
A fly lands on VP Pence’s head during the VP debates as he was explaining to the country that “there is no systematic racism in America”. Finally I had a metaphor and outlet for painting the absurdities perpetuated by the The Trump Presidency.
#6 Divided Flies 18”x24”
Trump’s tactics of divisive politics fueled by lies bruises Democracy. The country suffered. Once again I engage with my FB community.
The Flies as Lies paintings provided humor, generated discussion, and became an outlet for so much pent up frustration.
#4 Super Fly 18”x24”
Trump came down with Covid – armed with the best medical care money can afford, he recovered – saying: “It was no big deal”. My heart went out to all the families that did not have that kind of privileged access to medical care when their loved ones became ill and died. It was reported before Trump was to leave the hospital, he had asked his advisors if he could wear a superman T shirt under his white shirt. Where at a press conference he would rip his white buttoned shirt open, revealing his prowess with a big red letter S. One can’t make this stuff up.
#5 Masked Flies, 12” x 16”
Trump continued to hold large rallies – Governors fearing Trumps unmasked rallies would become super spreader events asked him to consider not campaigning in their states.
Our election results were so close. Votes were split almost in half. Biden ‘eaks’ out a win. And we all realize our collective dreaming must include healing our divided country. Lately I’ve been asking myself, how might art help with healing this division?
Needless to say this has been a richly frustrating, painfully exhausting, liberating, and stressful time for us all. Economic injustice and other fall-out from Covid still impacts many. We pray relief and aid, still held up in Congress, will be approved and released soon under the Biden administration.
At this writing, the third wave of Covid-19 rampages through our communities. Again we are asked to limit non essential trips, to not gather indoors unmasked for longer than 15 minutes, and traveling, to be with our families during the holiday season is discouraged. Collectively we suffer from Covid exhaustion.
We long for touch and miss greeting each other unmasked. And with a vaccine on the horizon, wonder how long it will be till we can safely gather again, and wordlessly hold each other?
Be well everyone and big hugs to y’all!
Please join us, Saturday December 14, 2019 in Portland, Maine @ Cove Street Arts for the opening of Think A Bot It. An amazing group of engineers have worked diligently with me and have helped bring this large scale installation, dreamed over a year ago, to fruition.
The Think A Bot It installation is created as a space for discussion and wonder. Here large friendly robots demand our attention—waving to us with coded messages and signals asking us for HELP, and to, STOP, LOOK and LISTEN. Play here becomes a serious platform where deep questions are to be considered: Are we marching toward a future filled with health and well-being or are we on a destructive course, drunk and blinded with new creative ability? Are we fully considering the impact of innovations on society (democracy) and our planet?
We hope to see you there!
For more info contact covestreetarts.com
I’ve been dreaming of a room where air is colored muzak pink and voices echo like electronic synthesized gongs. This place vibrates with crescendos and walls morph into manipulated waves. Everything is in motion; nothing is solid here.
It’s raining a soft darkness. The electronic music I’m plugged into while writing splashes. My brain synchs in with the notes and vibrates at a frequency allowing inspiration. Reset, I hear myself softly whisper I’m alive. Dichotomies transparent ripple like ghosts and dance above me. The wake of laced breeze is warm and undetected, I listen coatless..
“Turn off the news”… I’ve already done that.
“Move off social media”… been taking widening breaks..
Things are breaking down radio waves taunt: ‘The planet, Social conventions, Un-healthy ways of living, Leadership. Norms are changing.’
Today while driving a man in a suite walks by. “What a strange uniform,” I think out loud. “Fashion with patriarchy woven in every thread.”
My shoulder aches. The physical therapist I see tells me it’s my ribs. One side is frozen unmoving. My asymmetry apparently causes my shoulder to ache while painting. Too many ribbed injuries. The small inter costal muscles on the right side of my body have contracted deeply.
I attribute this present dull pain to too much painting and too little yoga. I’m off balance.
Ducking into coffee shops rather than marching into the studio because painting hurts. What is calling me? What is the message from ribs and shoulders?
Moving moving in perpetual motion. Airplanes and airports. Flying here and there. Reading again. I crave expansiveness and have landed on an old text by Ksemaraja “The Recognition Sutras” The philosophy of Kashmir Shivism. Awareness aware of awareness unconstricted unveiled, like sun melting snow revealing spring! “—recognition, that is, of oneself as a direct expression of the universal divine Consciousness. Recognition also that this Consciousness is, in truth, all that exists, and that its five fundamental powers of awareness, enjoyment, willing, knowing, and acting are the sacred endowments of every sentient being.”
I’m unthawing and cracking open and in synch with seasonal change. Adams rib or mine? My name is Eva. Much is happening both above ground and underground. My body aching begs for attention. With therapy, softness begins to seep into my muscles and pulls me into something new.
Life does not always gift us what we crave. Life does gift us an opportunity to reboot into what we are part of. Seasonal shifts are opportunities, remembering us to the earth, reminding us we too transition and change. In the Northeast seasons inform us. Winter brings 10 extra pounds and contraction. Spring brings preparation and engagement. Summer brings fruition. And in Fall we harvest what we have sewn.
As the light strengthens and snow recedes long brown un-cut grasses and and falls un raked leaves are unveiled. In my body old patterns unattended and avoided also appear. There is work a head of me on all fronts: The house, the yard, my thoughts, the animals. Yes everything is begging for my attention. Outside and Inside. Everything.
As I continue on this Robotic journey, I’m surprised and delighted by the ‘words’ that arrive. The word titles chosen thus far are paradoxical by nature; a word containing it’s opposite meaning is close at hand.
‘Dissolve’ for instance may easily move to ‘Resolve’. When we see or hear the word dissolve we may think or see resolve. Both beautiful sentiments as well as useful when thinking about what is being called toward dissolution and why?
There is a natural order of all things. The Buddhists point us to key truths. One of the main tenets of Buddhism is impermanence. Things come and things go. Feelings and thoughts rise and dissipate. Seasons change. The circumstances in our lives change. Our youth, if we are lucky to age, too will pass and our bodies different with each year, will embody marks of aging.
This Robot comes to re-member us toward the dissolution of all things. And that there are times we must dissolve a situation in order for it to resolve. We don’t always ‘know’ how this will happen. Actively surrendering to our own breath is one practice. The breath comes in and out. Holding onto the breath at either end, ‘grasping’ for non breath for too long can cause discomfort. So it is with ‘grasping onto’ anything passed it’s season. Sometimes the best action is to let go, and simply allow a thought or situation to dissolve. Dissolving creates space.
As we ‘dissolve’ we open ourselves to Big Love and possibility.
For what do we dissolve into?
Sweet day all!
Todays Robot: Creation
The Great Sages of the Tantra traditions speak of humans as forms, created from the breath of the Goddess; as she breathes so do we. We are no greater or smaller than She. She has gallantly veiled herself from us. And it is only through a diligent meditation practice or the grace of the Guru or simply Grace will our eyes and hearts wake to who we really are.
Everything is made of the same stuff. I find this ‘truth’ both liberating and terrifying. We as creators are the holders of golden keys. The blue print of creation is etched in our bones. It is a marvelous gift, the ability to create. Some may call it a curse when we understand the amount of waste and destruction our hands have sewn. Yes we are the curators of all things and so is SHE.
Creation holds many forms. When I traveled in India I came to understand the ancient temples I visited were not simply archaeological digs solely in place for tourist revenue and entertainment. The Great Shakti/Shivah temples are alive and thriving. They buzz with energy. Priests chant mantras and deliver blessings for the pilgrims who enter. Sacred statues are ritually cleaned and attended to daily. The care takers adorn the statues with flowers while singing special prayers. Each temple deity is freshly dressed as their mantras are chanted. Yantras are freshly painted on walls and on the ground and flowers and candles are lit and blessed. The temples are living alters: creation at it’s best, teaching us what we are capable of.
We carry the hands of the Goddess and are veiled by the Goddess. This divine plan is designed by the Goddess as a sacred game. WE forget who we really are and as we re-member so does she. The Goddess carries the ability to both reveal and conceal.
When we follow our thoughts in meditation we are privy to her dance. Thoughts arise from awareness and are created and maintained through attention. The thoughts will dissolve when our attention turns away. If we sit long enough and ask pointed questions like one gifted to me by my teacher: “Who is the one who thinks the thought?” We may catch a glimpse, a moment, of non thought and drift into awareness. And then the process of creation will begin again. A thought will arise from awareness and carrying it’s own resonance, become manifest, once again maintained by attention, and as our attention wanes so does the thought.
All material creation arises from thought: the tallest sky scrapper or the sailboat designed for a swift race or Robots. All creation is thought manifest.
This Robot comes to align you with creation. Breathe and you are created and so you may create.
Sweet day all.
Join us on January 12th 2021 at 6:00pm for a Facebook Live Event for an interview with Maine Artist Eva …