For artists and technologists Beau Bown and Emily Tulsky, the COVID-19 pandemic’s multipronged toll on people’s mental health became a personal concern when a friend died by suicide.
This weekend, the pair pay homage to their late friend while illustrating the pandemic’s attendant frustrations and restlessness through a new immersive exhibit at Guilford Hall Brewery in Greenmount West.
It’s called the C.H.A.O.S. (Confused, Homebound, Anxious, Overwhelmed, and Separated) Gallery and it takes place over the next three evenings. The exhibit mixes digital art and acrylic paintings, with each painting accompanied by a video animated in Adobe CC and Unreal Engine 5. Attendees can interact with the exhibit using the app ARTIVIVE. The exhibit was possible thanks to a $3,500 grant from the Maryland State Arts Council.
Bown said that this project aims to connect with audiences over shared experiences of loss, disorientation and isolation during the pandemic.
“Many people in Baltimore have been dealing with some form of chaos, whether it’s dealing with a loss during the pandemic, being separated from family or being out of a job,” Bown told Technical.ly. “This gallery is something, whether you live in Baltimore or are coming to visit, [that] you can identify with.”
Local companies like Alpha Graphics created prints for the event and helped bring the exhibit to life. Creating the gallery art and videos took three to four months, with Bown and Tulsky burning the candle on both ends to get the exhibit display-ready. The pair also work full-time jobs in the regional tech economy: Bown is a marketing director for the University of Maryland, Baltimore County’s bwtech@UMBC research park, while Tulsky is a civil engineer at infrastructure firm Moffatt & Nichol.
“We’re basically two people working day jobs in Baltimore that are passionate about art and have done other things, but we wanted to put on an exhibit,” Bown explained.
The gallery is free to view and immerse yourself in, but you can still RSVP here.
Donte Kirby is a 2020-2022 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation. -30-