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Artists in the time of Coronavirus, an ongoing virtual exhibition, Part 5

In the face of COVID-19, Artblog is hosting an open call, non-juried, first come first-served online exhibition entitled "Artists in the time of Coronavirus." If you want to participate, send your statement (250 words max) and 2 photos to


Our fifth post of the series, Artists in the Time of Coronavirus includes Stephen Nitz, Kendra McGowen, Collen Rudolf, Constance McBride, and Richard Gretzinger! Thank you for all who submitted! And if you want to participate, send your statement (250 words max) and 2 photos to More details here. Stay safe and stay positive, and come back in the days to come for more “Artists in the Time of Coronavirus.” We have a wonderful community and are so proud of being able to share everyone’s art.

Stephen Nitz

Painting of water streaming over rocks.
Painting by Stephen Nitz. Photo courtesy Stephen Nitz.
Painting of rocks on an easel in a home studio containing lots of painting canvases stacked up on the floor and paintings hangin on the walls.
Stephen Nitz’s home studio. Photo courtesy Stephen Nitz.

My routine has not really changed since I spend most of my time working at home alone. But the rest of my time, getting out of the house for exercise, socializing and going to restaurants has gone away. All in all I feel lucky to be blessed to be able to work at home. This painting is from a series inspired by hiking in the area, particularly the Wissahickon. I miss that!


Kendra McGowen

Graphite drawing of a table with a vase full of flowers on it, as well as a set of keys, a tv remote, and a thank you card.
Kenda McGowan, “Condolences”, 2019, relief ink on paper Photo courtesy Kenda McGowan.
Graphite drawing of right rear view mirror. In the reflection, a person is getting in the car. Outside the window there are trees and a street light.
Kendra McGowan “Out of Gas”, 2019, relief ink on paper collage. Photo courtesy Kenda McGowan.

I’m feeling very grateful that my daily routine hasn’t dramatically changed. I’m currently working my job from home and my studio is in my home (“studio” a.k.a. the dining room). It’s nice to be free to jot down ideas when they come to me in the midst of a work day. In the office, I’m less likely to write down an idea that’s bugging me. Even though it only takes a minute. A lot of my current work is focused on quiet and intimate snapshot moments of daily life. For me personally, the extreme slowing down of everything is welcomed, although I’m very upset as to why it’s happening and very scared for everyone. I hope to build a deeper appreciation for the people around me and for the things I have. ‘Creativity through limitation’ is the artists’ way.

Feel free to follow me on Instagram @kendra_mcgowan_

Collen Rudolf

Plaster sculpture of a chimpanzee in a seated position.
Sculpture by Colleen Rudolf. Photo courtesy Colleen Rudolf.
Graphite drawing of a Reindeer with horns looking towards the viewer.
Drawing by Colleen Rudolf. Photo courtesy Colleen Rudolf.

So much is up in the air, it’s difficult to feel centered and initially, I questioned the necessity of making art. But lately, I’ve been seeing so many hopeful gestures of support and I am reminded of how important connection and community are in moments like these. Ironic in a time when we are asked to separate and distance ourselves from one another, these lessons are amplified.

After honestly way to much media consumption, I have once again felt the power of art, music, humor, and I was able to hit pause on my anxiety, inspired enough to begin new projects and get back to work on ongoing ones.

Constance McBride

Sculpture of the profile of two faces without the back of their heads, each leaning backwards onto each other.
Constance McBride, Whisperers trying to practice social distancing. Photo courtesy Constance McBride.
Sculpture of a woman leaning over into child's pose.
Constance McBride, Truth from Within (no. 1). Photo courtesy Constance McBride.

I work primarily with clay. It’s malleable and I like to think we are too; not without conviction but flexible enough to ride the waves of change. Now is the biggest test for all of us. Can we ride this one out? I moved back to Philly (just outside) almost two years ago. Our daughter with children also relocated to be closer to us, from Indiana, after a divorce. The children were sent home from school on 3/12 and told not to come back for two weeks. I realized I’d need to help. Now she needs me more than ever; she was furloughed today. She works in the hospitality industry; hit hard quickly. My jobs have dried up quickly too; ceramics instructor at two art centers which have closed, arts writer covering exhibitions which are all either closed, canceled or postponed and sitting a gallery which has been closed. So, I’ll be making work with the kids for the next few weeks (?) months (?) and will carve out time to work on my stuff in between. I think about the layers we add to our lives while investigating the changes our bodies experience over time; layers of relationships we develop and discard and layers of lore ancestors leave behind for us to ponder. Now, my themes have new meaning. I can only wrap my head around navigating basics in this “new normal” world but we pull through this and will make a lot of new art based on it.

Richard Gretzinger

Close-up of a woman with her hand underneath her chin looking into the distance.
Richard Gretzinger, Cheyenne. Photo courtesy Richard Gretzinger.

True vulnerability is having the security in myself to answer questions the way I want them to come out versus how I want people to hear them. It’s a defense mechanism to not be venerable, to not behave in a way that is expected of me or what people want from me… it’s behaving how I want to behave. Being so caught up in trying to fit in… being part of the conversation is where we miss opportunities to learn something new… to see authentic joy from someone else

Blurry close-up of a young man from the side in front of a wall with indiscernible text.
Richard Gretzinger, Gerald. Photo courtesy Richard Gretzinger.

I wan born and raised in West Africa.. my country was torn by civil war… my earliest memory of it was very brutal… I grew up without my father and that really affected me as a growing man…

…Even at 37 I still have questions about life… I’ve built up barriers because of the lack of a relationship with my father… I have 2 girls now, I want to be there for them. I want to be a good father, but I have no blueprint. The only thing I know is running away from dealing with pain. So I need to teach myself to be a better person… not let the trauma form my childhood effect the way I love my girls. It’s been hard… everything I had to learn I had to learn on my own and I’ve learned that being true and vulnerable to myself is the only way I can make it work.

The Vulnerability Project

“The world feels lonesome and heartbroken to me right now. We’ve sorted ourselves into factions based on our politics and ideology. We’ve turned away from one another and toward blame and rage. We’re lonely and untethered. And scared. So damn scared. But rather than coming together and sharing our experiences, we’re screaming at one another from further and further away.” — Brené Brown

Vulnerability, to me, is the state of presenting our true self, stripped of all the baggage we pile on to be loved, accepted, respected. Being vulnerable is letting go of shame and self-criticism. Theses are barriers to the very connections we seek.

The premise of my newest photographic work is an attempt to capture vulnerability and examine the process of connection and belonging. So far I have been overwhelmed… overwhelmed with the responses I have received… the amazing individuals I have met… I have photographed many different people from all walks of life… The best part is, I am finding that the photography has become secondary. What has been the most fulfilling, is the process… the connection…. the one on one dialogues… the intimate conversations about life, fears, regrets, love and joy… I find myself traveling down a path Emerson, Alcott, Thoreau have paved because I have been transformed. I see so much beauty in the world and in each person I photograph. So as I continue my work I am revealing more about myself and the way my art effects the people around me.

Richard W. Gretzinger
Instagram: @vulnerability_photo_project