The Virus Chronicle. Covid-19. Gleason. 2020-2021. (Supported by ACNI and the Artist's Siap Emergency Grant). See Links: For Belfast Media.com write up on work of Gerry Gleason by Bronagh Lawson.
ARTS ROUND-UP: The locked down artist who painted the pandemic
May 18, 2021 11:24
Many galleries seem to be opening at the end of May but I noticed that An Cultúrlann has already announced its opening. And although outdoor drinking and dining have been creaking open over the last weeks and many are happy to partake, other people in more vulnerable categories or age groups are rightly still very reticent. It will take caution and consideration to feel truly at home in such environments.
Artist Gerry Gleason’s work caught my eye recently. During lockdown he has created a personal social document for the future, using mixed media works on paper. Gerry’s father was Irish American from Milwaukee but he immersed himself in Belfast and has painted his way through the city’s existence since 1976. Like some other artists of his generation, he has kept a visual memory of the city.
The image 'Basic Shelter' (above) seems to me to capture the current mood of the people in the city: determined enough to have a pint outside in the rain with their extra-strength, hardy jackets against our May weather. Part of Gerry's motivation for the project was that he fell into the age group more at risk from the virus and was basically confined to his home until restrictions were eased.
"I was inspired by many Old and Modern Masters who lived themselves through plagues and in recent times, the Spanish Flu," says Gerry. "The work covers my deepest respect for all front-line workers, the NHS, and families who lost loved ones. I have observed and recorded the daily grind of shopping at dedicated times, the humour of indoor exercising, and trying to social distance if the door was knocked and a package left at a distance. In fact, hands have never been so clean in my lifetime."
Hopefully Gerry will get to exhibit the whole collection soon but I have been told that some have been. (belfastmedia.com and Andersontown News).