Local art exhibit copes with COVID-19 “As the World Stood Still”


Osgar Nugent / Hilltop Views

The Davis Gallery is located on the corner of West 12th and Shoal Creek Boulevard. The gallery is open 10-6 on weekdays and 10-4 Saturdays.

I went to visit “As the World Stood Still,” an abstract art exhibit from Kevin Greer, on a sunny Thursday afternoon after making a reservation online. Along with simply visiting the exhibit, I arranged to talk with Greer in person. I met up with him in the parking lot outside and he cordially greeted me, leading the way in. We walked around, I had some questions and he had some awesome stories behind each piece of art. Here’s a reflection after thoroughly enjoying my trip through the Davis Gallery:

When the coronavirus arrived in the US, Kevin Greer felt a need to escape. Beyond himself, beyond the country and beyond Earth, which suddenly felt like it was on fire. Greer averted his eyes from an infernal reality and trained his attention on the sky. Watching how its colors behaved, both literally and on a screen (shows like “Challenger: The Final Flight” piqued his lockdown attention), he sought to channel his stirring energy to create. He bought his first canvas since the onset of the pandemic. Five feet tall, five feet wide and four inches thick. He stared at the blank, plain, empty surfaces, but he didn’t worry. He wondered.

Greer then grabbed his materials and escaped into his art, where his “bubbling energy” burst into a controlled explosion of an expression titled “Atomic,” an adventure for the eye and one of the visual centerpieces of the exhibit. Next came pieces like “Unraveling,” a beautifully unruly layering of emotions and paint that embody the art behind being confused and not knowing what to think in a world-altering situation. He took more of those feelings and applied them quite literally onto “As the World Stood Still (Parts 1 and 2),” mesmerizing extraterrestrial perspectives of a beautiful planet growing increasingly endangered. 

He still had his mind on the sky when he focused his attention onto “Lunations” and the diptych “Twin Lunations.” The energy of these pieces were drawn from the natural flow of the moon and created with a warm glow that entranced him when the world was quieter. Now, that warmth that Greer was fascinated by radiates and jumps from one canvas to another within the doors of the snug Davis Gallery, revolving around the exhibit as a physical manifestation of a year of shock, fear, nostalgia, joy, silence and reflection.

“Experimentation,” “variation” and “asynchronicity” are probably some other words that could describe aspects of Greer’s art. But everyone has their own way of staring at a piece of art and watching to see if it stares back at them. So, instead of continuing to opine, here are a few lines of poetry that you might find on a paper airplane somewhere in downtown Austin:

“as the world stood still

i began to listen

in the quietness

i began to really understand

the magnitude of the moment”

After my visit to the exhibit came to an end, I started walking up the hill on what Google Maps said was West 12th Street. The sun was going down. I was a little chilly as I approached the bus stop that I hoped was the right one to get back to campus. Usually when I’m chilly I like sitting down, curling up a little bit and looking down at my feet. I decided to look up this time, though. I stared at my unfamiliar surroundings. They looked blank, plain, empty. But, I didn’t worry. I wondered.