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Tara de la Garza is an Irish/Australian artist who has exhibited nationally and internationally with the The Lodge Gallery NYC, San Diego Art Institute, No Longer Empty, Chashama, , Figment, MassMOCA and Aggregate Space Gallery. She currently resides in the San Francisco Bay Area. Tara studied a BA/Fine Art at Curtin University, Australia. Tara also runs a contemporary art space called The Frank.
Monuments to the Plastocene II
Recently, Tara de la Garza opened a book on natural history and was confronted by a photo of a decomposing albatross with a stomach full of plastic. It set something off in her: a realization of humankind’s pervasive impact on the planet, even in the earth’s most remote and supposedly pristine corners. At that moment, she decided to align her artmaking with a longstanding interest in conservation and waste management. We have termed the human epoch the Anthropocene, but as archeologist dig through this particular era she thinks we will undeniably see the impact of what de la Garza has termed ‘the Plastocene’.
The series of columns and light tubes are reminiscent of core samples and beacons of plastic waste. The columns are made with plastic waste collected in concert with the Surfrider
Foundation on Burns Beach SF, Monterey and La Jolla SD. The layered structures represent the earth’s geological stratifications over the millennia; the first evidence of humans’ shell middens; the microplastics of our era, our reliance on carbon and the possibility of a sustainable future. The LED lights utilize repurposed single-use plastic bags collected from the general public, to create lush, colorful light gels. These beacons draw in the viewer and, on close inspection, reveal an accumulation of discarded plastic bags that tell the story of our consumption.
Tara de la Garza is represented by SFA Projects in NYC and is in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Watson Library NYC. She exhibits extensively in the US and Australia.
Exhibited at SF Design Week, the Design Hub 2019
Monuments to the Plastocene
In this first installation in her series Monuments to the Plastocene, Tara de la Garza simulates the warp and the weft of a tartan pattern with her light tubes. Tartan, in the punk era, became a symbol of anti-establishment. de la Garza is using it here to protest throw-away culture and our ever increasing packaged life, protesting the lie we were told that plastic is recycled. Here, she wants to elevate plastic as a medium, collect it, treasure it.
de la Garza also plays with the historical significance of the grid, as pioneered by Sol Lewitt and Dan Flavin. The pattern is structured but not in a utopian, modernist sense,. Here, the criss-crossed horizontal and vertical light tubes create chaotic patterns that can only be understood at multiple vantage points. Colored gels layered around these lights, on close inspection, are the discarded plastic bags that tell our stories of consumption.
Exhibiting at the Flatfile gallery with 3 other artists.
Opening May 30th 2019 6 – 9pm
131 Chrystie St, Lower East Side
Opening: Palo Alto Arts Center, Papercuts: Large Scale Collage
Dates: Opening June 22nd 2018 7-10pm,
June 16 – August 26th 1313 Newell Rd Palo Alto, CA
Tara de la Garza’s meditations on nature and diversity manifest as a taxonomy of species, collaged together from elements collected from natural history books, magazines and found images. In her second series her species continues to evolve. As they propagate their progeny of bizarre descendants reflect on our own progress.
de la Garza creates “a visual mythology that dissolves both the hierarchy and the boundaries between living things” Sarah Walko
Tara de la Garza likes to think of time in geological terms, evolving slowly. Her evolutionary creatures are an imagining of life on a planet unfettered by overcrowding or even, indeed, the laws of nature. Yet somehow these distorted creatures look as if they could function in the world, much like the parlor game of the Exquisite Corpse, they have a head, a torso and a tail/legs.
Likening the work to that of a scientist discovering a new species she names her creatures based on a nomenclature of relationships, the Latin names attributed to important people in her life. In this exhibited work the species are paired off and create their own descendants.
Creating collages in a workshop is such a rewarding experience for me as the participants can immediately begin to see connections and juxtapositions between the imagery provided and also create their own.
I mentioned to the group that part of my inspiration came from the second hand bookstore in La Jolla and was very happy to hear that one artist went there the next day, mining the $1 book rack for imagery.
I’m please to announce my inclusion in a group show at the San Diego Art Institute called Diverge/Convene: Contemporary Mixed Media opening at SDAI on April 1, 2017 from 6pm-8pm. The exhibition will run through May 15. Details here
In her recent collage work, Tara de la Garza distorts elements of nature to create new hybrid creatures. Sitting in an uneasy world between biological diversity and unchecked genetic modification, her work is a depiction of a fantasy sci/fi world without humans where nature evolves chaotically but wholeheartedly.