We are thrilled to present Tara Austin - Boreal Ornament IV. This exhibition includes several new paintings completed between 2020 and 2022, plus a select number of earlier paintings that were part of her spring 2020 exhibition Boreal Ornament III that had to close down, due to Covid, before it officially opened. It's been a long road, but worth the wait for this exhibition of new and recent paintings.
At her core, Tara Austin acts as a conduit between her paintings and raw nature. Everything stems outward from this truth. Her works are incredibly human, but come from a space just beyond waking perception.
This is not surrealism – it’s ultra-realism.
The fractal fabric of her designs are both traditional and mathematical – equally drawing upon accessible rosemaling techniques and complex geometries. It’s tempting to assign cartesian duality to her paintings, but the overall interpretations transcend the physical and the spiritual. They are not a representation of competing dimensions – they are a unified concept of everything.
Austin’s works represent something simultaneously scientific and profound.
Metaphysics is a pairing of the ancient Greek words Meta (loosely translated as “beyond”) and Physika (referring to the natural world). In its earliest sense, this is more than a mashup of nature and esoteric landscapes. It’s a scope of vision that goes beyond the here and the now, and looks back with startling clarity.
In modern terms, it is the search for a unified theory.
It will come as no surprise that she says her upbringing in Northern Minnesota instilled “an appreciation of botany and a keen observation of patterns in the natural environment”. Reflecting on her experiences in the Midwest, South America, and Europe, she has further stated as much, referencing a need to “seek to communicate a form of natural beauty.”
She “incorporate(s) techniques from scenic painting and faux finishing, the folk art of Norwegian rosemaling, and reverse painting on glass. Observing these customary processes became a way for (her) to develop a personal aesthetic based on the necessity of good craftsmanship. Their established authority of geometry, harmony, and beauty speaks vibrantly”.
It is this rare and authentic building from practicality that has allowed her the sight to jump beyond the known. She’s intimately aware of her finite parameters, and so she easily leaps beyond them with what feels like sacred geometry. But even this geometrical exploration of the improbable is grounded in the scientific.
When we look at her paintings, we’re not always certain as to whether we’re peering into the cell of a plant, or the highly organized orbits of a nearby galaxy.
Her artwork shows us many related branches at once. Like botanical appendages from the same leafy stalk, sprouting out of the earth, reaching for the sky.
We hope you were able to join us June 23rd for Tara's gallery talk about the work in “Boreal IV”. Stay tuned for a video recording of her talk.