New Work in the Museum Collection Speaks to the Pandemic Experience

Moraga, CA

It’s Gonna Be Okay, a recent acquisition into the Saint Mary’s College Museum of Art (MoA), represents the first work in the museum’s collection that speaks to the lived experiences during the 2020 pandemic. Created by California artist Lynn Beldner, this watercolor and ink on paper embodies the human reaction of anxiety, fear, and the unknown experienced during the height of the pandemic. 

It’s Gonna Be Okay is part of a comprehensive body of work that Beldner started over a year ago in her studio. Almost everyday, Beldner worked on small paintings. These works became the visual record that documented her mood, anxiety, and reactions to the news. Other days, she approached her work as an outlet of escape. 

Overall, Beldner’s approach to her practice expands across materials and media. In the pandemic series, Beldner’s work is predominantly paintings, drawings, and sewn textiles conglomerated into installations of diaristic works. The nature of this work subtly pairs the fragile, interior and domestic world with the dangers from the external world. 

The pandemic’s effect on time fueled Beldner’s process: “During the past year, my sense of time has been altered – from slow to fast then fast to slow.  I have been working at a furious pace even though I have been tired. The ideas are in a queue, and I cannot ignore them.” 

“I must try to finish them, or at least start them. A kind of frantic art-making has taken hold of me. Note-taking, in case of emergency, in case there’s not enough time to say all that needs to be said.” 

It’s Gonna Be Okay is the second acquisition of Beldner’s work in the Saint Mary’s College Museum of Art Permanent Collection. Her earlier work, The Lakes was recently on view in the spring exhibition Aesthetic Forces. It’s Gonna Be Okay will be on view in the museum lobby come the opening of Fall exhibitions on September 15, 2021. Beldner continues to work at her studio in Woodland, California. 

Image credit: Lynn Beldner, It’s Gonna Be Okay, watercolor and ink on paper, 8 ½ x 51/2 inches, November 6, 2020, Gift of the Artist, Saint Mary’s College Museum of Art Permanent Collection [2021.2]