In Ever Epic, Tanya Hastings Gill invites us into a quiet installation at the Living Room Gallery with fragile drawings that just distinguish themselves from the whiteness of its walls. Resting in an amorphous fairy tale, attention to pattern and line speak to the collision of the natural and the manmade in these representational paper sculptures.
Rather than illustrating a story, these pieces seem to hint at moments just beyond our reach. Safely tucked in the nook of a window bench visible from the street, miniature paper houses stand nested together like so many building blocks in Rise and Fall. Landed in a careful composition that at once points to a structure and an architecture while remaining organic, the houses invitingly open their white exteriors through windows and doors to reveal brightly colored interior walls. These paper pieces are marked with lace-like lattices of cuts that wallpaper their sides. Covering mainly windows, this abstract yet domestic floral drawing creates a patterning that ultimately reads as resting on top of these paper surfaces. And although the patterns themselves serve to distinguish individual houses, ultimately the integral structure of the paper buildings remain unchanged by this gesture.
Ever Epic shifts the landscape away from buildings to an abstracted forest of foliage. Also a sculptural paper drawing, the paper cutouts in this work hover over the wall at a scale that mirrors the viewer’s body. Their green, red, and yellow undersides reflect from under white paper onto the white wall of the gallery, casting colored shadows. Amongst this imagery, a small figure is nestled among the silhouettes of leafy fronds, resting at the bottom of the circular composition. The child holds its hands over its eyes, shielding itself from what lies ahead.
In an approach to abstract form that is about pairing down visual information, each element in this installation seems carefully selected and compressed. Inspired by Gill’s experiences in northern India, I found myself searching these smooth surfaces for additional entry points into this world, which coyly held back, refraining from textural and material elaboration. (Madeleine Bailey, Chicago Art Magazine)