Pandemic Portraits I: Amy

Photo of a painted portrait quilt with a gold foil frame. The portrait features applique of a mandala mural, roses in a vase, a skull, and a bird sitting on a rotary-style telephone. Video and microphone buttons are appliqued to the lower left, an “END” button to the lower right.

Painted cotton fabric; commercial cotton prints; gold foil. Painted, appliqued, machine quilted.
38” x 30”

With the COVID19 pandemic came a focus on remote video conferencing and the curating of spaces for best presentation of self to the world. This personal visual curation parallels the formal painted portraits of the past, in which clear symbols appear on monumental canvases. This portrait echoes those tropes for the 21st century: skull and flowers remind us of mortality; a phone and a bird call to mind high speed communications; and my subject, artist Amy Malkan, is pictured against a backdrop representing one of her own mandala murals. The buttons for video, sound, and end transform the frame into a screen.

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