September 10, 2021 will mark the opening of Tamara Gonzales’s fourth solo show with Klaus von Nichtssagend Gallery. Titled Horrible Beauty, the show encompasses large scale canvases, a series of new works on paper, and sculptures. The title refers to a concept conceived by the American spiritual teacher, Ram Dass, about learning to embrace aging or decay in living beings.
Whether in her studio or traveling abroad, drawing has always been a constant in Gonzales’ practice. Her sketchbooks and drawing pads are filled with depictions of fantastical creatures resembling beings such as birds, snakes, humans or butterflies in garden-like settings. Gonzales combines a variety of media in her work, inventing different marks and textures to translate her experiences to paper. Where the hardness of colored pencil creates one kind of line, the softness of markers washed with water or the defined contours of graphite create something different. Horrible Beauty will feature the full scope of her material usage in her works on paper.
The scale of Gonzales’s paintings and their canvas surface allow the artist to explore imagery differently. Though her new paintings employ a framing device she uses in the works on paper, the inner areas are mistier and painterly, with bold colorful patterns created with lace stencils and spray paint. Areas of solid color are obscured with brushstrokes, looking back to similar areas in the drawings. More abstract than the works on paper, Gonzales talks about these painterly forms as beings emerging.
Some works in the show refer more overtly to the title. One painting is of a large bird-like figure, standing with arms/wings stretched, its face made from a found beaded mask. This painting is the most defined, and the most experimental in its use of materials. The central figure, created with collaged elements, is surrounded by pools of glitter, hand-prints, and heavily painted lines, creating a bold and graphic glow. Two sculptures made from a turkey’s wing and tail feathers are also included in the show. While driving on RT28 Tamara Gonzales found a perfectly intact body of a turkey that had been hit by a motorist. She later created fans with the feathers, which will be displayed in boxes made from cedar harvested in Woodstock, NY, near the site of the accident.
Taken together, works in this exhibition highlight an exciting range of visual languages, and display the depth of Tamara Gonzales’s practice.