Publisher: Cadogan Books
This book is a collection of some of Deborah Tarr’s paintings, assemblages and photographs made over the last fifteen years. Inspiration comes to her from far and wide. Her range is vast, varied and personal, as we are taken on a stimulating visual odyssey, giving us an insight into the environments that the artist inhabits. The photographs offer a glimpse into the origins of the work and also give us a window into her routine. There is a world to discover and celebrate in each painting – a kind of visual poetry, perhaps a route into a reflective space away from the buzz and hassle of modern day life.
From pure abstraction to varying levels of representation, some pieces are clearly of ‘somewhere’, often inspired by location; other works might refer to a moment in the artist’s life – a distillation of her thoughts and memories. As viewers, we are encouraged to participate in this reverie - to make the space and associations our own. The work speaks to our subconscious mind. What she creates is more than a painting – it is a complete and individual object, defined as much by the grain of the canvas and the application of sumptuous paint as by the carefully chosen frames. This juxtaposition of old and new, traditional and modern makes her work satisfying and reassuring in its wholeness.
Tarr describes the process of painting as a ‘conundrum’ - a constant round of decision making and self-discipline where a myriad of thoughts are tempered. However, she strives to give each painting an emotional content and to empathise with the viewer on a human level. She often titles the work in a mock rueful way – ‘Pot Kettle Black’ – ‘To Put an Old Tin Lid on it’ – offering humorous observations about the way things are. The work is an expression of life’s inherent duality and fragility.
What to keep in, what to erase? Rags are as much a part of the toolkit as brushes. Removal and restraint are often more important than adding the next thing. This cathartic process is apparently endless until that moment arrives where a point of balance is achieved.
Cadogan Contemporary has exhibited Deborah Tarr’s work in London for more than 20 years. We are proud to have collaborated in the making of this book.