Years ago when I was starting out as an artist, I lived in a coal shed behind Su Lum’s Cooper Street house, which I had turned into a little apartment, albeit without plumbing. It was tiny and I had no room to make art. Finding studio space on an hourly worker’s budget seemed nearly impossible. I had cleaned years of debris out of an old unheated barn on Cooper Street to use as a studio for a while, but it was slated for development and I had to clear out.
The Rocky Mountain PBS Arts District story on Tania aired January 9, 2015 highlighting artwork both old and new. Tania’s new body of work, Anthropocene can be viewed on her website or at her pop up gallery at 308 E. Hopkins in Aspen until March 31, 2015 open daily from 10a-10p.
Yes, there are contemporary art rules – codes to let one another know whether or not you are a contemporary art insider or poser.
Number one is that anyone who is anyone does not sign their works of art, with few exceptions. You might as well dot your i’s with hearts. This was once a little tough for me to buy, having started my career in realism where there was a good chance that a painting hung with an unobtrusive signature on it led to more sales. You are aiming to be such a somebody that people know its your work without needing a signature, and if you are not there yet, pretend you are, because a signature yells that you are not even going to get there. Your signature is not part of the work. A frame is not part of the work. Your collector list is not part of the work. All of this is both true and not true. (more…)
I was driving by the frozen river on a winding road on my way to cross country ski with my dogs last Sunday. The sun was shining and flakes of snow were falling off of the trees and catching the sunlight. Some high, echoing piano notes were repeating on the radio. I used the Shazam app on my iPhone to find that the song was “Wash.” by Bon Iver. The notes sounded poignant and lilting and like a memory. They sounded to me like light green, and the sound matched the feeling of the flakes of snow catching the sun, and described the heartache of loss. I knew then exactly where to go with the canvas that had been sitting unfinished in my studio.
The painting, a 6’ x 9’ panel, was faintly sky blue covered by layers of dark drips. While listening to the song I got the idea to cover the blue with a spare, transparent wash of light spring green, turning the painting into a fresh forest, but one that is melting and dissolving and haunted by a few out of season snowflakes flying amidst the greenery. The snow over full green represents the sad fact of our climate turned upside down: snow in summer, heat in the winter, freezes in the tropics, heat at the poles, tornadoes and storms and all of the upheavals of a pained planet. I want the piece to be sensuously beautiful but to also give the viewer a jab, like the feeling you get when a beautiful bird smacks your window and falls. I want the piece to look delicate but slightly wrong, and to be evocative of loss. I want the piece to be eloquent and poignant. (more…)
After years of landscape painting I began to realize that scenery was not so interesting to me as the fundamental biology behind the scene and our pervasive role in the system represented. I am fascinated by human progress, by the effects of human advancement and by the complicated interrelationships of those effects. (more…)
Shortly after composing my last artist statement, I came upon this podcast while listening to old episodes of my favorite audio show, Radiolab. The show fascinated and stunned me, because it so very much provided a clear and timely example of the very complex relationship I have been exploring between humanity, earth, intention, and consequences. As I listened to it in my studio I actually got goose bumps on my arms. If you take a few minutes to hear the segment you will have a clear understanding of my current 2013 work. (more…)
A couple of weeks ago we returned from a trip to South America with the Aspen Art Museum. Sixteen people and Heidi Zuckerman Jacobson, the director of the AAM, went to private collections, artist studios, museums and galleries. Here are some of the things that surprised me. (more…)
Our relationship to the world we live in has changed exponentially and rapidly. Nature, once bigger than humanity, is now a tool, a resource, an infected organism and a fragmented system. Buy it, sell it, use it. We alter genetic codes, shape the climate, patent genes, change the course of evolution and create artificial life. We wipe out entire species and ecosystems and turn the ramifications into political arguments. Basically, we shit where we eat. The idea of “nature” as a broad, controlling and creative force in the universe seems quaint and secondary. To contemplate nature in this era is to examine its qualities and possibilities: its patterns and symmetry, its randomness, fragility, and interconnectedness, its unavoidability, its potential. (more…)