Local Artist's Exhibit “Pieces from The Pandemic” Moves, Connects, and Heals
By Doug Marrin
We may be done with the pandemic, but the pandemic isn’t done with us. Besides the continued rise and fall of cases, the lingering mental and emotional toll on us may take years to heal, if we ever do get over it. And one local artist has set about helping people do just that.
Artist Jane Fink has expressed many of the emotions she experienced during the pandemic shutdown on canvas, hoping others will find their story in her art and that it will foster resolution and healing. Her collected works, “Pieces from The Pandemic,” are on exhibition at Dexter United Methodist Church through September 20, 2022.
“This exhibition is a tribute to individuals who struggled and continue to struggle with mental illness that originated in or was intensified by the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Jane. “We all went through this huge, unprecedented event, which affected everyone’s mental health in some way.”
Jane has spent her life and career bringing to life those thoughts and emotions too profound for words. “I cannot remember a time before I picked up a pencil and started to draw,” she says.
Growing up, her parents recognized her gift, encouraging her talent and drive. Jane graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in painting. She went on to become an educator and directed the Youth Art Program at Eastern Michigan University.
Her works of art are intentionally provocative. “I hope viewers will wonder ‘What is she think?’ or ‘What is his story?’ or ‘Why are they there?’” she says.
She finds that through these below-the-surface questions, people deeply connect with one another. Like many of us, the COVID lockdown was hard for her and her husband Karl, but Jane put that energy to creative use.
“Our kids came to my husband, Karl, and me when the lockdown began on March 15, 2020, and told us we may not leave the house,” she recounts. “We were furious, but we decided that we should honor that request.”
The Fink household, including the quarantining college students, went into lockdown. To keep her sanity, Jane sewed cloth masks during the day. But at night, when everyone was in bed, she put on some jazz and got to work on the canvas expressing that which words could not describe. When the stay-in-place order was lifted, the Webster Township artist had a collection of works.
“About four months ago, I felt a huge nudge to exhibit these pieces,” says Jane. “A lot of people suffered during that time and are still suffering. Each of us, to some degree, experienced moments of anxiety, helplessness, and confusion. Some individuals experienced profound grief and some inexplicable anger.”
“My intention is to have people come and spend time in the exhibit, remember the struggles, and connect with one another and begin to heal,” she adds. “And that’s exactly what has been happening.”
“Pieces from The Pandemic” runs through September 20 in DUMC’s atrium. After that, the collection will be on display at the Webster Fall Festival on September 24 in Webster United Church of Christ.
Photos by Doug Marrin