Roll of the dice: The dilemma of losing touch.

Roll of the dice: The dilemma of losing our sense of touch, 60 x 50 cm., oil on canvas, 2020. COVID-19 can affect our senses, notably the sense of taste and the sense of smell. But avoiding the virus also entails restrictions upon another important sense: that of touch. Scientific study indicates that affectionate touches can affect the nervous system’s rest and digest mode, thus reducing the release of stress hormones while bolstering the immune system, and stimulating brainwaves that are linked with relaxation. This self-portrait (my sixteenth) is a commentary on the dilemma of avoiding touch, an activity which we sorely need in order to boost our life quality, our sense of well-being and our ability to maintain a strong immune system. We take chances with a mental roll of the dice: “Does this person have COVID-19, or not? I need to give and receive handshakes and hugs. But do I dare do so … or not?!!”

Roll of the dice: The dilemma of losing our sense of touch, 60 x 50 cm., oil on canvas, 2020. COVID-19 can affect our senses, notably the sense of taste and the sense of smell. But avoiding the virus also entails restrictions upon another important sense: that of touch. Scientific study indicates that affectionate touches can affect the nervous system’s rest and digest mode, thus reducing the release of stress hormones while bolstering the immune system, and stimulating brainwaves that are linked with relaxation. This self-portrait (my sixteenth) is a commentary on the dilemma of avoiding touch, an activity which we sorely need in order to boost our life quality, our sense of well-being and our ability to maintain a strong immune system. We take chances with a mental roll of the dice: “Does this person have COVID-19, or not? I need to give and receive handshakes and hugs. But do I dare do so … or not?!!”

The handshake doubles as hands being constantly cleaned with disinfectant (the most popular Norwegian brand being AntiBac), and the self-portrait is in complete darkness. The study of Light reflection in the bottle, and the negative light/shading in the cat-like curious yet restrained eyes were also challenging… as well as the sickly pink polka dots, which symbolize the COVID-19 virus cluster model wantonly spreading in a surrealistic background gives a psychedelic and psychological effect.

“Terningkast: Dilemmaet med å miste berøringsans”, 60 x 50 cm., Olje på lerret, 2020. COVID-19 kan påvirke sansene våre, særlig smakssansen og luktesansen. Men å unngå viruset innebærer også begrensninger for en annen viktig følelse: berøring. Vitenskapelige studier indikerer at hengiven berøring kan påvirke nervesystemets hvile- og fordøyelsesmodus, og dermed redusere frigjøring av stresshormoner mens det styrker immunforsvaret, og stimulerer hjernebølger som er knyttet til avslapning. Dette selvportrettet (mitt sekstende) er en kommentar på dilemmaet med å unngå berøring, en aktivitet som vi sårt trenger for å øke livskvaliteten, følelsen av velvære og vår evne til å opprettholde et sterkt immunsystem. Vi tar sjanser med en mental terningkast: “Har denne personen COVID-19, eller ikke? Jeg trenger å gi og motta håndtrykk og klemmer. Men tør jeg gjøre det … eller ikke? !! ”

“Vanishing Act”, a new self-portrait.

Vanishing Act, oil on canvas, 46 x 55 cm., 2020.

VANISHING ACT.

«Vanishing Act», 46 x 55 cm., oil on canvas, 2020, is a raw self-portrait about being careful what we wish for. While many would wish for the rapid disappearance of the CoronaVirus (COVID-19), it would presently seem more plausible that such reference be most applicable to the Fade-Out Star (R Coronae Borealis). In the upper left corner one can barely make out a vanishing star, consumed by the Darkness of Uncertainty — truly Hell in its most natural form. The raw background hints of that in many well-known paintings by Old Masters, but here there is a messy disharmony that is threatening to consume the figure in the painting and the viewer — like an unavoidable train wreck … in slow motion. There are many important lessons yet to be learned from the COVID-19 experience. It is karmic, and in that understanding lies a solace that enables us to adapt to both life during struggle … and to the inevitability of Death. The figure — itself already vanishing behind protective gear — is waist-deep in the mire, but is yet optimistic — if not aloof to the dangers of chance and folly. The true challenge is perhaps not how quickly or how completely we can return to normality, but whether the former normality is actually the problem itself.