Cynthia Byrnes Contemporary Art (CBCA) is proud to present our inaugural online exhibition, Zeitgeist. Reflecting on the unexpected challenges and victories of 2020, this exhibition acknowledges the current moment of transition, and looks forward to the potential of 2021. Drawing on a formalist perspective, which prioritizes an artwork’s aesthetic form over context and content, the works featured reflect on the previous year not by walking viewers through a catalog of events, but rather provoking emotions now characteristic of 2020 and giving viewers space to reflect on the events and emotions which shaped our individual experiences of the past year. Featuring artists working across a variety of media, Zeitgeist is presented in three installments, each reflecting on a new phase in the progression of the COVID-19 pandemic as it rippled through virtually every aspect of our lives. This first segment, Zeitgeist: Then Everything Changed, reflects on the on-set of COVID-19 and the immediate and pervasive shifts it catalyzed.
Looking at 2020 as a moment of abrupt and indelible transformation, Zeitgeist: Then Everything Changed looks beyond a specific timeline of events, in favor of exploring the overwhelming feelings of fear, anger, grief, and love which permeated this past year. Leaving no one untouched in one way or another, this first installment acknowledges the somber realities we universally faced and the feelings of anxiety, isolation, introspection, confusion, or simple sadness which thrived as the inevitable bi-products of both the sickness and the cure. Featuring works by Dana Saulnier, Ethan Kolwaite, Eugene Brodsky, George Chaplin, Hugh O’Donnell, Jeanette Fintz, Joe Wardwell, Kathryn Lynch, Kiyoshi Otsuka, Lauren Seiden, Liz Dexheimer, Luc Leestemaker, Philippe Cheng, Rachelle Krieger, and Zemma Mastin White, Then Everything Changed recognizes and honors the human reaction to this global crisis. This collection was curated to express and evoke the emotions which shaped the experience of the onset of the COVID-19 and the chain reaction of challenges that followed.