The Amsterdam-born artist Jade van der Mark used to paint scenes from urban life, depicting hundreds of city dwellers crowded together in various settings. She painted in multiple strata, using thick coats of oil paint, and a single layer could take up to a week to dry. This meant that each work was completed over several months. Now, due to the pandemic, urban centers have changed and van der Mark’s new work shows empty spaces that highlight absence, telling tales of the alienation that permeates social distancing. Still, the 2020 paintings aren’t that big a departure. “While lockdown has forced us into physical isolation, we were already isolated in modern society,” van der Mark explains, “Traveling the cities of the world, I’ve noticed that no matter the size of the crowd, people are isolated.” —E.C.
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