Journal of the Plague Year, a timely installation of paintings by Saskatoon-based artists Dawna Rose and Betsy Rosenwald, was on view at Gallery 330g in Saskatoon from February 1 to 28, 2021. The work is a powerful blend of conviction and rage created in response to the pandemic and toxic politics of 2020. The paintings are all on post-consumer waste cardboard, inspired by signage from the 2017 Women’s March in New York City.
Dawna Rose’s packed floor-to-ceiling installation of signs depicts images of birds, words, portraits, dates, and clocks. Her signs are a journal that connects to the day-to-day of the pandemic and the politics of 2020. In the show, they are mashed together on a wall, one collective mass screaming chorus. Rose’s work was greatly influenced by her experience at the Women’s March in New York in January 2017 with Rosenwald. Creative signs were displayed everywhere. “I will never forget a very old man holding up a piece of ordinary typewriter paper with a drawing of a shaky banana on it. It was prophetic of what was to come under Trump’s disastrous tenure.” Rose continues to use signs to comment on things that infuriate and intrigue her.
Visit her on Instagram at @dawnarose4art.
Betsy Rosenwald created her series of protest sign paintings as an urgent response to the political and social chaos wrought by Covid-19 and the Trump presidency. The words and images are derived from the 2020 news cycle, often quoting former President Trump directly. She makes quick sketches and notes, and edits them to keep the message simple and impactful. The final paintings are made with sumi-e ink and acrylic gouache on discarded packing materials. A dual US/Canadian citizen living in Canada, Rosenwald compared events in the US to watching a train wreck in slow motion. In a year marked by physical isolation, she shared many of the images as postcards mailed to friends and family.
Visit her on Instagram at @betsyrose_1.