when we are at sea in the evidence
Aran Cravey Gallery is pleased to present, when we are at sea in the evidence, a solo exhibition of drawings by Tara Geer.
What does it mean to have a visual experience? ‘Seeing’ is not a passive occurrence - to see an object or facial expression is an active experience. It is at once an act of cognition and visual exposure; we recognize, identify, and conceptualize. For Tara Geer, the act of drawing becomes a way to see the world, and in her works, deconstruction becomes a strategy to expose the comfort of recognition. Every instance of seeing is manifested through the lens of our experiences; to see is to make intentional connections between what is in front of us now and instances in the past. Thus, in her works a division takes place between our visual experience with the abstract flurry of charcoal, chalk and pencils and the title, implicating what the viewer observes on the paper is a documentation of something found in the tactile realm.
The twelve works exhibited for this show materialize through the medium of drawing; chalk, charcoal, pastels, pencils and erasers on paper. There has been a notable return to abstraction in painting; these works attempt to negotiate the practice of painting itself rather than the experience of a painting itself. Geer’s resolution in limiting her palette through the use of drawing materials allow the works to disembark from a discussion on abstraction as it is expressed in painting. Despite being abstract, the viewer does not have a purely optical experience with the works. Through our struggle for recognition we are pushed to reflect on our own engagement with visuality in the day to day.
As a drawing instructor, Geer’s philosophy on how one learns to draw is intertwined with her idea of seeing. Geer explains, “The hardest thing about drawing is nothing technical in your hand; the hardest thing about drawing is looking.” It follows that interacting with Geer’s drawings is itself a visual exercise. We question the process with which we recognize things, what happens when we look at a recognizable object for an extended period of time, until the individual aspects which made the object whole and perceptible fall apart into their own visual entities. What happens here is curious; words become a useless descriptive tool.
Tara Geer (b.1970) was born in Boston, Massachusetts and received her BA from Columbia University with a double major in Art and Art History, graduating Magna Cum Laude & Phi Beta Kappa, as well as an MFA with a teaching fellowship from Columbia University School of the Arts. She received the Loius Sudler Prize for excellence in the Arts and the Joan Sovern prize. Currently, she is an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Visual Arts at Columbia and in Art & Art education at Teachers College. Geer also trains teachers and staff in Visual Thinking Strategies at the Brooklyn Museum, El Museo, and the Joan Mitchell Foundation among others. She has worked at WNYC, the NY public radio station, writing and producing culture pieces for “Morning Edition,” “Studio 360,” Leonard Lopate and other national radio shows. Her work has been covered in publications such as the New York Times and has been included in exhibitions and collections throughout the US and France.