This past year was like no other, a year fraught with stress, uncertainty, isolation, loss, grief, fear, outrage and so much more as we grappled with the challenges both in our daily lives and in the entire world around us: the complex of disruptions and anxieties thrown at us by the Covid-19 pandemic; political corruption and chaotic governance at the highest levels; a threatened presidential transition; the relentless tragedies and injustices spotlighting systemic racism and the huge swell of protests against them; the unprecedented devastation by fires and extreme weather; massive disinformation from multiple sources; and more. It was also a year of inventing ways to cope with this array of challenges, a year of insights and revelations, of finding new ways to connect, of using our strength to push back against personal difficulties and larger problems in the world—in short, of adapting and surviving, and perhaps even making the world a little better in some ways.
For 2020 Vision: Seeing ourselves through challenging times, Cabrillo Gallery put out a call for entries to artists across the United States to submit work that responds to the events of the past twelve months—including the beginning of 2021—however they may have manifested as creative acts. We asked: How do you see yourself or the world around you through all of this? How did you face and cope with your challenges? The artworks included in this exhibition were selected by juror Eleanor Harwood of Eleanor Harwood Gallery in San Francisco. They reflect a multitude of perspectives: losses, struggles, tales of survival, revelations and lessons learned, hopefulness, actions to materialize change, quiet meditations and reflections, acknowledgements of the simple pleasures—as well as the absurdity—in life, such as it has been, over the past year.
About the Juror
Eleanor Harwood graduated from the University of California Santa Cruz with a dual degree in Film/Video Production & Theory and American Studies with an emphasis in Visual Culture. She has a background in film and video production, web design and special effects. Eleanor found her passion in life as curator of the Adobe Books backroom gallery from 2002–2006, during which time she completed an MFA in Painting at California College of the Arts. In 2006 she opened Eleanor Harwood Gallery, now located in San Francisco’s premier gallery complex, the Minnesota Street Project. The gallery specializes in work with complex craft and concept and focuses on painting, drawing, sculpture, textiles and photography by emerging to mid-career artists.
Image credits, clockwise from left: Andrea Jacobson, Inside|Out i; Stela Mandel, Trader Joe's 2021; Katy Drury Anderson, The Stain of a Nation