May 1 to June 30, 2010
This series of paintings and mixed media drawings subverts deeply ingrained beliefs and linear lines of thought inherent in notions of hierarchy to stimulate critical insight into the ways we identify ourselves in relation to other species, each other and our environment.
In conjunction with the 23rd annual Calgary International Children's Festival (May 25-29, 2010), this Montréal-based artist presents a selection of mixed media drawings which depict hybridized children interacting with nature. Her work subverts deeply ingrained beliefs and linear lines of thought inherent in notions of hierarchy to stimulate critical insight into the ways we identify ourselves in relation to other species, each other and our environment.
My work is rooted in figurative oil painting and mixed media drawing and driven by my interest in probing elements of human experience in labyrinthine psychological spaces at the borderlands of articulation.
The stories we tell ourselves about who we are, who we were, and what we’re becoming are implicit in my work, which roams terrains of social and spiritual identity, sexuality, greed, sacrifice, power, technology, anxiety, aspiration, ideological and physical conflict, destruction, progress, consumption, and the meaning of ‘self’ and ‘other’. My work connects our present-day wonderland of simultaneous states to threads of our past while allowing ‘mash-up’ hybridizations characteristic of culture today: high/low, pop/classic, ancient/present, emotional/rational, mundane/fantastic, comic/deadly serious.
Intimate mediums like painting and drawing still the cacophony of a kaleidoscopically shifting world, and in collusion with the seductions of beauty (realized through technique and craft), I hope to encourage contemplation. In my work, humanity is less a condition than a choice, and I ask viewers to define what is human, what is real, and what shape the future should take.
The starting point in my paintings had been personal identity and psyche, but these threads connected to our deepest relationship, one between civilization and nature. My latest work is underpinned by tension around these as concepts and realities, which pervade our personal, emotional, cultural, fantasy, and societal lives.
Despite vast scientific knowledge and awareness of how close we are biologically to the simplest animal life, we continue to act as though we top Aristotle's hierarchical "chain of being" (perfection of the human male at the pinnacle, sliding from women to sea urchins below). We manufacture an increasingly disparate and imperiled world that threatens biodiversity and coherent culture. Assumptions of privilege burden us with entitlement, inequity, psychosis, destabilized ecologies, and fractious isolation.
My current series of paintings and mixed media drawings subverts deeply ingrained beliefs and linear lines of thought inherent in notions of hierarchy to stimulate critical insight into the way we identify ourselves in relation to other species, each other, and our environment.
– Tammy Salzl
Tammy Salzl completed her BFA at the University of Alberta and will be pursuing an MFA at Concordia University in the Fall of 2010. Her drawings and paintings have been staged in recent solo exhibitions at the ODD Gallery (Dawson City), Les Territoires (Montreal), IndexG (Toronto), and at Latitude 53 and Harcourt House (Edmonton). She is the recipient of an Alberta Foundation for the Arts grant, a Vermont Studio Center artist grant, and is represented by the Douglas Udell Gallery in Edmonton.