New Mexico Artist to Know Now Cedra Wood updates us on her current work, reflecting rather than producing, and the subject of mortality.
This past March (the one that feels approximately 200 years ago) Southwest Contemporary held its second-annual exhibition 12 New Mexico Artists to Know Now. Selected from over 400 submissions, these are the artists we consider to be shaping the landscape of contemporary art in New Mexico.
Just one week after the opening, however, the gallery closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, these artists have continued to create, in terms of art as well as impact in their communities. We’re checking in with each of them to see how they are, and what they’re making now.
lives in Roswell, NM
born in Amarillo, TX
cedrawood.com | @cedra.wood
How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your process? Has it changed where, how or when you work? Has it changed the subject matter?
The biggest change I’ve experienced is in having to fill in at my day jobs more than anticipated, as colleagues quarantine or move to care for family. I’ve been grateful to have income at all, of course, but it’s made it difficult to maintain focus in my studio practice. My housing situation has been unpredictable, and that has created challenges; my partner (an artist who works from home) and I have shared a 320-square-foot space for several months, so there are spatial-logistical issues as well as ones of stability.
What are your top concerns for the arts and your fellow artists?
I always worry that the arts will be perceived as dispensable during times of fear and that support will become more meager. Most of the artists I know are already pretty vulnerable when it comes to income and security.
How has your relationship with art-making changed during this time?
I have been doing more reflecting than producing, more listening than talking. I’ve also put energy into utilitarian objects at home, repairing old things before making new ones.
Tell us about your current projects or pieces:
I’m continuing a series about the joy/magic/tragedy of mortality (as embodied by characters in ancient Scottish and English folk ballads), which has not lost its poignancy for me during this time. The content of the stories is heavy, but I hope beautiful, too.