The Northampton Arts Council works to support and nurture the arts in the city of Northampton. The Council awards grants twice each year to artists and arts groups from both state and locally-raised funds, and seeks to improve public awareness of the arts. Its' goals include maintaining and preserving the rich and diverse cultural heritage of Northampton, programming such annual events of interest to the community as First Night Northampton and Transperformance.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Jessica Tam: Creatures from the Cigar Closet

Tableau Vivant (cielo), monotype, 2018
WHAT: Jessica Tam: Creatures from the Cigar Closet
Discussion with CRVPT and Jessica Tam: Friday, September 28, 6pm
WHEN: September 6 - 30, 2018
Reception: Friday, September 14, 5-8pm
WHERE: The Oxbow Gallery, 273 Pleasant St, Northampton, MA 01060

Gallery Hours: 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. Over the past few years, she has considered the theatricality and cinematic nature of her serial work and studied how Italian frescoes work in tandem with the architecture of their specific residences to create an immersive fictional environment.  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.  More images of her work can be seen here:

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