Thursday, August 7, 2014

In Residence: Tanja Softić

Both delicate and forceful, Tanja Softić’s paintings are like visual poems, offering up lyrical pictorial passages that are richly layered with meaning and technique. Tanja knows how to balance things, pitting geometric forms against lacy filigree, silhouettes against drawn lines, blocks of bold color against washed-out hues. She uses veils of muted green and rose to form a backdrop for her idiosyncratic iconography that brings together glimpses of botany, biology and technology. These complex arrangements of fragments relate to each other visually, but also have a potent relational significance to the artist.

Recently, Tanja has become interested in splats. The kind you see on studio floors or on the street. They’re images of impact, of violence. She employs artificially made ones and ones that naturally occur during the painting process. The very deliberate way she goes about producing the former is interestingly complex. First she spills the ink to make the blots, than she photographs them, then she plays with them in Photoshop, stretching or compressing them. When she’s satisfied, she projects the manipulated image onto the painting’s surface and outlines them. It’s all about process. “A weird circuitous way,” she says, “Going from actual, to digital, to actual, to digital and so forth. It’s funny how we set up these obstacle courses. But you need all these obstacles in order to get the thoughts worked out.”

Tanja Softić: Migrant Universe, a traveling show that explores the fragmented and multilayered experience of the immigrant organized by the Halsey Gallery, Charleston, SC will be on view at the University of Richmond (where Softić is a professor) August 20 - October 6. http://tanjasoftic.com/

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