For her solo exhibition of multimedia works on paper, Hawaiian-born artist Tasya van Ree explores the relationship between alchemy, eros and the infinite mystery of the natural world.
Los Angeles, CA – The origins for Drawn from Nature were born of unconventional means: “I ran out of paper” explains artist Tasya van Ree, who begin to tear pages from botanical illustrator Joseph Prestele’s 1984 volume of lithographs as the base for her evocative drawings. Van Ree’s process of deletion and embellishment in black ink soon gave way to more detailed compositions using oil pastel, gridded lines, and her signature visual vocabulary of horses, hands and flowers. Flouting the process of taxonomy central to Prestele’s project of classifying the natural world, van Ree’s series instead highlights the elegant and erotic form of fruits and flora, relishing in the mystery of nature’s offerings.
At Eric Buterbaugh Gallery, van Ree will present a suite of her Drawn from Nature series alongside a selection of new multimedia works on paper. This new body of work was drafted intuitively and decisively, tending towards the calligraphic. Dream-like figures and symbols appear to exist in overlapping fields within the storehouse of the unconscious, unrestrained by horizon lines, vanishing points, or conventional scale and perspective. For van Ree, these images illustrate the futility of systematizing the world around us. “Everything is an illusion,” writes the artist, “reality is perception.”
Formally, the body of work is a departure for the artist, who is perhaps best known for her striking and seductive black and white photographs of women. Recently van Ree has turned away from her lovers as muses, turning instead towards the natural world. “At this point in my life I’m less interested in examining and unpacking the human psyche,” van Ree explains. “Man tries to create boundaries and compartmentalize the unknown; this series reflects my radical embrace of nature in all its infinite mystery.”
Whether through seductive, cinematic photographs of blonde bombshells, or in a poetic ink line framing a rare wildflower, Tasya van Ree has maintained a line of inquiry around the visual codes associated with the feminine. In 2015, she designed a cowboy hat for Stetson with a dramatic raised crown and oversized brim, guiding the historical signifier of western masculinity into the realm of the theatrical. More recently, her collaboration with fellow photographer Nitsa Citrine embraces the qualities and contradictions associated with womanhood, celebrating her subjects and their roles as activists, artists and healers—often simultaneously.
Tasya van Ree is a Los Angeles based artist and designer. Her evocative work speaks to the subtleties of human experience and its transitory nature. Solo exhibitions include Replica at Stephen Webster Beverly Hills, A State of Mind & The Affairs of Its Games at Chateau Marmont, L.A Spleen at Jules & Jim in Paris and a self-titled exhibition at Edgar Varela Fine Arts in New York. The artist has participated in group exhibitions alongside Amy Arbus, David Lynch, and Gus van Sant.