Art In Uncertain Times: A Disturbance in the Force with Pedro Pedro
"I’ve begun to digest that we have entered a new normal, and perhaps I had initially underestimated the gravity of the situation," Pedro Pedro writes from his home in California when we checked in a few weeks back for Art in Uncertain Times. "Moving forward, while much of my routine resembles that of pre-quarantine, I’m trying my best to take this day by day. My daily routine is pretty much my routine pre-pandemic—minus going to a bar, dinner or event every once in a while," the LA-based wrote us about "the disturbance in the force" that he experienced due to the lockdown and social distancing measures.
Such a response comes as little surprise, as Pedro has steadily begun to focus on interior, domestic scenes in recent years, and in a way, celebrating a more solitary lifestyle. We find him praising the comforts of a messy bedside chair or haphazard cluster of studio tables, painting bowls of fruit, glasses or last night’s leftovers as equally beautiful colorful arrangements. So in such compositions, the artist speaks to a familiarity and connection with what we refer to as sheltering in place.
"When you asked me to give a few words at the start of the quarantine on how I’m dealing with the pandemic for Art in Uncertain Times, I didn’t really know how to comprehend the entire ordeal and still don’t." In a matter-of-fact assessment of the effect on his routine, he explains that "I’ve been working on a solo show for The Hole Gallery in New York since the winter of 2019, which is now scheduled to open from July 9th through Aug 23 with a partial opening on the 9th," as this period has provided a strangely suitable setting allowing full focus on the upcoming exhibition.
In describing the vibrant and sophisticated visuals of paint on linen, a marriage of fabric texture and pigment, he says, "The pieces in the show are predominantly tableaus of domesticity, interactions with objects and spaces from my daily life, and a representation of cluttered isolation. While working on the second half of the show in quarantine, the state of the world has seemed to grow more into a surreal dystopia, where leaving home and having any human contact is frightening. Completing a show largely about claustrophobia and home/work spaces, when no longer being permitted to leave said spaces, has allowed for the work to take on a new sort of relevance in a way I could have never anticipated.
"Working towards a completed series for The Hole has given me a maintained routine during the quarantine. I am learning to relinquish control. With different parts of America reopening and others spiking, it’s difficult to plan for much of anything in regards to in-person involvement. Fortunately, I trust The Hole to put together a beautiful install as always and am grateful to work with a gallery that continues to deliver stunning exhibitions in the face of uncertainty." —Sasha Bogojev
Pedro Pedro's Still Life opens at The Hole on July 9, 2020.