Into the Woods
April 12th to May 24th 2013
Opening Reception: April 12, @ 8 PM 2013
Into the Woods explores notions of identity, mythology and the natural world, creating an expanded narrative between them through the medium of paint.
The need for narrative runs in our blood; it has been with us for half a million years. Mythologies have been shared in every culture as a medium for entertainment, education, cultural preservation and as a means of instilling moral values; they help us to make sense of the world. Although we sometimes relate to these stories as narratives which are handed down to us fully formed by history, it is worth remembering that mythologies, just like the cultures that formed them, are hybrid things – shaped by the physical, psychological and metaphorical movements of humanity as well as the forces of the natural world.
Despite vast scientific knowledge and awareness of how close we are biologically to the simplest animal life, we continue to act as though we top Aristotle’s hierarchical “chain of being” (perfection of the human male at the pinnacle, sliding from women to sea urchins below). We manufacture an increasingly disparate world that threatens biodiversity and coherent culture. Assumptions of privilege burden us with entitlement, inequity, psychosis, destabilized ecologies, and fractious isolation. As contemporary society becomes ever more “advanced”, what impact will our increasingly distant relationship to the natural world have on our mutating individual and social psychologies?
I view my compositions as tableaux from a fairy tale book about a distorted and chaotic world that is both strange and familiar – brought to life through paint. These scenes are part of a journey to the borderlands where fantasy and reality meet. They are filled with characters drawn from culture, mythology, elements of the past and my own interior landscape. I see them as reflections of the dichotomies that exist within all of us – they are lonely, anxious, vulnerable, fierce and powerful; they are the wounded, the victorious, the barbaric and the innocent. When standing in front of the works in “Into the Woods”, do we enter at the beginning, the climax, or the dying credits? What moral tales do they present about ourselves and the world we live in?
In my work, skin is a fleshy, teeming and slightly toxic interface between humanity and animality, a surface pulled taught between the hidden and the revealed. I want this surface to make a connection between the material of paint and the material of the body, to reflect not only a psychological make-up but also suggest the “object-ness” of the body; a medium susceptible to the forces of gravity and stresses of life, an embodiment of the human condition itself.
There is a translucence inherent in the medium of paint that allows pigment to glow beneath a build up of countless layers, a luminous physicality that takes on sculptural form as pigments mix and blend upon the surface of the canvas. By engaging the traditional forms of technique and craft I seek to conspire with the seductions of beauty so that together they will encourage contemplation and provoke the viewer to think about their own stories, to re-imagine themselves and their relationship to others and the world around them.
You can see some images of Tammy’s exhibition at aka here.
A panel discussion, Dreaming Painting, with Mélanie Rocan, Janet Werner, Allyson Glenn and Tammy Salzl, moderated by Mendel Associate Curator Sandra Fraser will take place on April 13th, 2013. This will take place at the Mendel Art Gallery.