Over the past year we have lived with the devastation of the pandemic. It is difficult to predict when things will return to normal. What is certain is the last year has changed most of us and that confusion reigns about how we might find our path back. How our new selves will emerge, embrace and move forward.

The Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York exhibit called “Degree Zero” offers some insights on paths back. MOMA researched how great artists like Pollack, Volpi, and Lewis began the process of returning to work after the utter destruction and devastation of World War II. The exhibit is filled with their simple drawings and brush marks.

They did not leap into major art pieces. Instead choosing to concentrate on laying down these simple marks and drawings. A way of saying they were still here. Each a foundations and step back to normal. Their method of getting in touch with life again, played out against a landscape that had been brought to zero by the war. They started from scratch with the basics of their artistic skills.

We will expect too many great things and accomplishments right away when things return to a normal. It will be easy to get overwhelmed, especially with the changes the pandemic has forged in us. Small steps may be a better approach. Ones played out on a blank canvas. Ones that get us in touch with the foundations of our skills. Ones that test the new normal and help find the right path back.

David Young