Karey Kessler

What does is mean to be here? That is the question I ask myself while I am painting.

In my artist statement for my recent Shift Gallery show, here is the Place, (that closed a week after opening due to coronavirus), I wrote “here can be a specific, known physical place, or, it can be an infinite conceptual space – a spiritual realm filled with time, light, and energy.”

In this time of coronavirus, here, takes on a whole new set of meanings. The physical places we can go are restricted and we find ourselves in increasingly smaller spaces. At the same time, our internal sense of place is disrupted as we grapple with a growing sense of anxiety and isolation.

My maps tell the story of the interconnected ecosystems of the world that don’t end where one country’s borders end and another’s begins: how pollution (and viruses!) defy borders. The stories include deep time (before humans were on earth) and the eternal things that will remain once we’re gone.

My maps explore feelings of uncertainty and ecological grief for the environmental changes happening around us. These feelings are exasperated by the current corona-virus epidemic.

But, watching the world work together to get through this period of coronavirus isolation, I hope, perhaps, the silver lining from this moment, is that we can also learn to work together as a human race (beyond borders and boundaries) to confront and adapt to the growing climate crisis.