Artist Statement

TRUST. That has become my mantra. The Covid-19 pandemic has heightened that concept for me. Every time I leave my house, I think about it. Who can you trust that’s been adhering to safe practices so you won’t get Covid? Can we really trust that a person always wears their mask and washes their hands? When the quarantine first began, who could you trust to spend time? After 22 months, who have you allowed into your “Circle of Trust”? Can you trust what you see? Can you trust what is said? Can you trust that masks work? And why don’t some trust the science?

This work is layered with notions of disease and beauty, using photographs, encaustics and oil paint. They are flowers that have  poisonous components; they’re cancer cells (pancreatic, lung, breast, bladder, colon, cervical) that sometime look as benign as plankton; they’re coronavirus and HIV cells; they’re photomicrographs from a research scientist at Maine Medical Center Research Institute. She works with silk from silkworms to build armatures on which she researches new ways to eradicate cancer cells. There are deceiving properties, healing properties, and flat out deadly properties that tie into the critical-political madness of 2020. Like the poison apple in Sleeping Beauty; what can we trust by our eyes only?  This pandemic and time of racial upheaval has brought to the surface questions of how little or how much trust we really have, and what and who we really trust.

Nanci Kahn

January 2022