Sunroom Project Space 2018
Adrienne Elise Tarver
Origin: Fictions of Belonging
Sunroom Project Space 2018 | April 7–May 13, 2018
Pictured above:Adrienne Elise Tarver, Origin: Fictions of Belonging, 2018. Acrylic and caulking on wire mesh, latex paint, dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist. Photo: Stefan Hagen.
Reversing the Sunroom’s traditional function of offering views of the outdoors from an interior shelter, Adrienne Elise Tarver builds tactile paintings hanging from the ceiling inside the gallery, evoking a tropical landscape and canopy. In creating these forms from the wire mesh of window screens and other household materials, Tarver examines the physicality of boundaries, as well as the invisible and imaginary ones that exist between us.
Inspired by invasive climbing vines, such as kudzu, and other tropical plants, Tarver’s immersive installation encourages viewers to traverse around and underneath the draped pieces, as well as through the shadow patterns and silhouettes created by sunlight. Tarver’s work explores the definition of place, boundaries and identity—combining her interests in architecture, domestic interiors and personal histories. Her installation asks visitors to create their own narratives as they transition from viewer into voyeur and vice versa. “I like that plants can camouflage the intruder and the intruded at the same time,” she explains. “You’re not sure which side of the barrier you’re actually on—voyeur or viewed.”
Tarver began this body of work in Australia, where her assumptions about domesticized tropical plants were subverted and the inhabitants’ assumptions about her identity were pronounced. Her hanging paintings reference the visible and invisible “veils” of race and otherness as discussed by W.E.B. Du Bois in The Souls of Black Folk. Tarver notes that European painters, such as Paul Gauguin and Henri Rousseau, and the human zoos of the 19th and 20th centuries in Western countries exoticized the “other” and created fictions surrounding non-Western people from tropical lands and African countries and their lifestyles. Tarver’s work examines multiple dichotomies: the natural and manmade, private and public, inclusion and exclusion.
Tarver’s work has been exhibited nationally and abroad, including in solo exhibitions at Victori+Mo, Brooklyn, NY; BRIC Project Room, Brooklyn, NY; A-M Gallery, Sydney, Australia; and Art Matrix Gallery, Chicago, IL. She received her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and BFA from Boston University. Tarver is currently the Director of Art & Design and Director of the HSA Gallery at Harlem School for the Arts, as well as Residency Advisor for Brooklyn Art Space/ Trestle Gallery.
Support for the Visual Arts Program is provided by the Lily Auchincloss Foundation, Inc.; Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation; the National Endowment for the Arts; New York City Department of Cultural Affairs; New York Community Trust Edward and Sally Van Lier Fund; New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; The Pollock-Krasner Foundation; The Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation; and by the Cathy and Stephen Weinroth Commissioning Fund for the Arts.