Opening Reception: Thursday, August 28, 6pm – 9pm
“Mistakes are the portals of discovery.” -James Joyce
Tara de la Garza is Embracing Failure, throwing artwork to the flames, whiting out rejected proposals, videoing children attempting to wink, massaging a dead chicken, paying homage to a building imploding and street art painted over and erased. By consciously placing herself in a position of making mistakes the artist hopes for an opportunity to grow her practice in this unconventional manner. By delving into destruction, De La Garza attempts to shake the ‘anaesthetization of information’ that was lamented by French theorist Jean Baudrillard. By whiting out, pairing back and simplifying signifiers, she arrests the bombardment of signs that dissolve meaning.
This first solo show in New York is the culmination of two years work, created in her adopted city of San Francisco but thematically very much with its heart in New York. A burning painting relates to an event in 2012 where New York artists met in the Philadelphia countryside to destroy they’re past failures. Two ‘projection paintings’, an inter-play of film and painting designed to challenge and transcend the boundaries of the canvas and surface, meld to create new narratives related to destruction and rebirth.
Another series of works include the “Erased” paintings which both reference the tagging cover ups that the artist was noticing in San Francisco but more pointedly the wholesale erasure of the work on the 5 Pointz building in Long Island City, an icon of street art. Transcribed onto the erased surface are a direct translation of images from that site. Aesthetically influenced by Belgian artist Luc Tuyman’s muted palette, the works are built up in layers or glazes much like a renaissance painting. These detailed works become the antithesis of what they document.
Also in this exhibition will be a quirky, single-channel piece entitled Chicken Massage. In this work, the hands of the artist can be seen vigorously massaging a truncated chicken carcass (one readily purchased from the supermarket for dinner time consumption) in a manner not unlike the treatment of live human flesh at a ‘day spa’ setting. Originally exhibited at Chashama’s alternative, store front space in Harlem the site-specific work was created as a response to the live chicken store next door. Aired on Comedy Central this piece has received more than 12,000 hits on YouTube.
De La Garza’s work is idiosyncratic, unified not by medium or subject matter, but instead by something much less tangible – curiosity. As can be seen through the diverse array of artworks in this exhibition, each piece is but a portal through which a viewer may encounter an alternative perspective. In this sense, nothing here is random or a mistake, but an opportunity to explore the world in a less conventional manner.