Victori + Mo is pleased to present Secrets of Leaves, an immersive exhibition of new work from Adrienne Elise Tarver building on her explorations of voyeurism, boundaries, and discovery, opening February 17, 2017 and on view through March 19, 2017.
Secrets of Leaves, consists of caulking paintings on wire mesh and sculptures of varying scale, affixed to the gallery walls and hung from the ceiling throughout the space. The walls will be painted with flora motifs, interspersed with leaf sculptures protruding at various intervals creating the sense of not only viewing a jungle, but being in one.
The installation of the work subverts the standard gallery mode of passive viewing within a static white cube; conceived in a manner that the viewer is compelled to navigate around the artworks, stepping over or passing through them. The space necessitates the viewer to be present in order to activate it as a means of drawing attention to the invisible structures we create and how they work to separates us. The viewer, seduced by colors and textures, is lost in dense and tactile walls of tropical foliage, often missing the figures existing within the artwork.
“The focus is on ‘the other,’ Tarver says. “This idea that allowing yourself to look too long includes some sort of permission—in that permission you have created a divide, and though also a human, the object of your attention is seen as a different being, not like yourself. I think this steers the conversation towards why and how we look at ‘the other’ and encourages a conversation about looking at each other with empathy and respect, as opposed to discussing borders and barriers.”
In its deliberate obfuscation of the line between craft and construction, Secrets of Leaves also subverts normative notions of the masculine-feminine binary. The sculptures use housebuilding materials but appear delicate for instance points resembling delicately woven lace are in reality caulking on mesh. Channeling the tropics and the legacy of imperialism, the paintings in this series are in conversation with not just the practices of Henri Rousseau and Paul Gauguin but also the real-world implication of their art, and recall the vibrancy and visual signatures of Chris Ofili and Peter Doig.
Adrienne Elise Tarver received her MFA in Visual Arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2011 and her BFA in Painting from Boston University in 2007. This is her second solo exhibition at VICTORI +MO. She currently lives and works in New York City.