September 28, 2018

Discussion with CRVPT and Jessica Tam: Creatures from the Cigar Closet

Discussion with CRVPT and Jessica Tam: Creatures from the Cigar Closet

Date(s) - Friday, September 28, 2018 - Sunday, September 30, 2018
6:00 pm

The Oxbow Gallery

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Open Thursday – Sunday, noon – 5:00 PM

The Oxbow Gallery is pleased to announce Jessica Tam’s CREATURES FROM THE CIGAR CLOSET, an exhibition that includes paintings and prints inspired by a recent collaborative project of painting, printmaking, playwriting, and poetry between the visual artist and the Connecticut River Valley Poets Theater (CRVPT).

Throughout last year, Tam and members of CRVPT created the wordless play TRIAL / PROOF: Monument Field using Tam’s large-scale painting series as a prompt. The poet-actors used a language of tonal shifts rather than sensible words, creating characters who each identified with a specific aspect of the paintings. Two performances were staged at Race Street Gallery in Holyoke last April.

Posed in front of the 92-inch-high paintings and dressed in costumes that shared a palette with the paintings, the performers acted in response to the color or direction of brush strokes, generating a narrative of the physical struggle for what is seen and revered. Imagine a tableaux vivant of an abstract work, with the painting extending past the picture plane through the human body and voice.

Now flatten that image.

The paintings and monotypes in this exhibition stem from images of CRVPT actors in front of Tam’s original painting series. Tam has again collapsed the performance space into the picture plane, flattening the performers and the paintings into one.

Jessica Tam has exhibited work in New York at Schroeder Romero, The Painting Center, and Slag Gallery as well as in Chicago at LG Space. She has been a Clowes Fund Fellow at the Vermont Studio Center, an NEA Fellowship Recipient at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and the Al Held Affiliated Fellow at the American Academy in Rome. Most recently, Triptych, her series of three site-specific paintings, exhibited at Midway Gallery in Boston, The Seerveld Gallery at Trinity Christian College, and The Box at Knox College. She received a BA from Dartmouth College, a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and an MFA from the Yale School of Art. More images of her work can be seen here:

Show Runs Sept. 6-30