“Smoke Signals” offers a prescient reflection on the value of life, connection, and empathy at a time when the whole world continues to navigate distress from the COVID-19 pandemic, environmental crises, racial violence, and more. Spann noted that, to a degree, the work in the show presents a metaphor for the repetitive, cyclical nature of life that we’ve grown accustomed to since the beginning of the pandemic. The paintings mimic the patterns of our daily lives and serve as a reminder to embrace the sensuality of even the most quotidian of tasks.
Spherical forms show up in Spann’s abstract works, like Soul of a nation (homage) and Tango (both 2019), which feature glossy bulbous shapes in a deep red hue. The glistening circles appear to almost peek out from the edges of the canvases, cushioned by linear borders. The exhibition also features Fleeting memories and lasting moments (2019), a 15-foot-long mixed-media diptych which shows another ruby-colored circle floating atop blue blobs.