Local artists adapt to pandemic-related challenges


Teddy Tauscher

3S Artspace in Portsmouth has a new exhibition which opened March, 5 and will remain open until April, 25. This comes amid a pandemic that has made it harder for artists who deal in physical mediums to adapt to an increasingly online world.

One of the exhibits called “Ordinary, Elusive” is the work of Steve Novick, an artist from Massachusetts.

A challenge for Novick was that he never actually got to see the layout in person, as he hasn’t been to a gallery in more than a year.

Not only was the layout difficult, but viewing art online is a completely different experience then viewing art in person, said Novick.

Novick said with the invention of the internet being recent in terms of human history, art has only been designed for online space for a very short period of time. “They couldn’t have even conceived of what it meant to view art online,” said Novick.

Novick said certain aspects of a piece like scale, material and depth just don’t translate well online. A prime example of this is Novick’s piece, Ladder to X. Online the piece takes up a significant portion of the image but in person it takes up a mere fraction of the well it is set on. “You don’t get that sense of scale,” said Novick. Novick’s work is joined by pieces by Jim Zingarelli and Cody Mack. “While all 3 currently exhibiting artists work is distinct, there is something harmonious about them all sharing the Gallery space for visitors to explore separately or as a whole,” said Marketing Manager at 3S Artspace, Sara O’Reilly.

It’s not just the viewing of art that has changed, the selling of art has faced unique challenges due to the pandemic.

The Seacoast Artist Association has had to deal with these challenges firsthand. Debra Woodward is on the board of the Seacoast Artist Association and the main challenge for her has been trying to sell her art solely online. “People like to see this stuff in person,” said Woodward.

More than that, she added people like to come in and be able to actually talk to an artist. Their in-person workaround for this problem was to put their paintings in an ever-rotating order in the shop window of the closed gallery.

The Seacoast Artist Association building in Exeter NH recently reopened for visitors.

Photo courtesy of 3S ArtSpace, Steve Novick: “Slice (Leftover)” / 2019 / 7.5 x 9 x 1.25 in. / Wood, paint.