Burlington artist channels pandemic angst, abstraction in new works

Published: Nov. 10, 2020 at 4:49 PM EST
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - There is no doubt that 2020 will go down in history as being a low point for most of us. A Burlington artist has made this a year of transformation not only for her artwork, but herself.

Johanne Durocher Yordan has invited us into her personal space. The long-time Burlington artist is best known for her paintings of poppies and sunflowers. Lately, it has taken a darker and introspective turn.

“I was comfortable and then I became uncomfortable,” Yordan said. “Something totally changed inside of me.”

The genesis of her new project, “Trying to Find A Reason,” stems from the coronavirus pandemic. “I’m not unique in this journey and I know people have felt many, many emotions,” Yordan said.

Her works are collages that tell a story of 2020 -- from the pandemic to political discourse and racism. Yordan says she questioned where she was going with her life during the lockdown. One of her new collages is titled “Broken.”

“We were like puppets, because none of us had lived this before. We didn’t know what we were doing,” Yordan said. “Most of them reflect what’s going on around us in the world.”

Reporter Joe Carroll: Deeply personal?

Johanne Durocher Yordan: Deeply personal.

Eight months of work and 92 collages and counting. “I started with these four, and people who know my art will recognize, it’s stuff I have done,” Yordan said. “This just took a drastic turn. It became not of what I knew, but what I was feeling.”

She plans to write a book and a short film on how she dealt with this most unusual year. Her new collection is a preview. It’s symbolic of everything she’s feeling and the hope -- through her artwork -- that there will be a connection to everyone during this most unusual year

“You know that old saying, ‘You’re going to find your voice someday?’ Well, I found my voice.,” she said.

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