A public garden & cultural center

Tamara Johnson

Call & Response | September 10–December 3, 2017

Pictured above: Landscape Painting 1990-2017, 2017, wood, epoxy putty, plastic, rope, pigmented rubber, latex and oil paint, 42 x 43 x 60 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Wave Hill. Photo: Stefan Hagen.

Johnson uses anthropomorphosis to bring common objects to life, highlighting how architectural barriers frame and direct our experience of the surroundings. In this piece, two fences, distinct in style and era, appear to merge together. A sculptural element embedded in the fences is a replica of the first landscape/still life painting that Johnson made as a child and exhibited at the State Fair of Texas. This piece illustrates the landscapes we traverse and the translation of natural spaces into domestic interiors.

An Interior Complex
Sunroom Project Space | June 7–July 19, 2015

An Interior Complex, 2015, gypsum plaster, epoxy putty, wood, foam, latex and acrylic paint. Courtesy of the artist.

Tamara Johnson’s sculptural interventions and performative gestures whimsically explore the cultural dynamics at work in the landscape, merging public and private notions of space. For her Sunroom Project, An Interior Complex, Johnson recreates the stone balustrade bordering the edge of Wave Hill’s Lower Lawn, installing a version of it in the Sun Porch. In this enclosed, windowed patio, the installation highlights how architectural details frame and direct our experience of the natural surroundings. Johnson interjects an element of surprise by bringing outdoor features indoors. A section of the artist’s surreal railing begins outside on the exterior stone precipice bordering the enclosed Sun Porch, and appears to enter into the interior space through the windows. As the balustrade edges further into the room, it becomes anthropomorphic, breaking apart into individual pillars and slabs, losing vitality and mimicking a deflated or mutated body. In this sense, the artist choreographs the balustrade, transforming it from functional architecture into sculpture.

 An Interior Complex, 2015, gypsum plaster, epoxy putty, wood, foam, latex and acrylic paint. Courtesy of the artist.

Artist website

The Arts at Wave Hill are supported by the Lily Auchincloss Foundation, Inc.; Michael J. Shannon; 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.