IN THE WAKE: TaVee McAllister Lee and Tamera Avery

Gearbox gallery may be closed for physical visitors during the COVID-19 pandemic, but our latest exhibition is on virtual display here.

One might wonder what Tamera Avery’s huge oil paintings have in common with TaVee McAllister Lee’s seemingly fragile torn paper constructions.  Avery’s paintings have a bold presence.  This is partly due to their scale – one painting is 78” x 112” – but more so to the strangely costumed figures that find themselves in vast landscapes.  She invites us into an alien yet familiar world that can be both lyrically beautifully and foreboding.
 
Both artists are story tellers.  They are encouraging us to do what all good artists do, to not only observe the artistry of their work but to do a bit of soul searching in the process.  They take us on a journey of discovery.  In the Wake asks us to engage in some of the prescient social and political issues of our time.

TaVee McAllister Lee’s constructions, by contrast, drift lightly over the wall surface, pinned such that they cast delicate shadows.  On cursory glance they might look like a flutter of butterflies or falling leaves but on closer scrutiny one begins to realize that her work, like Avery’s, has a serious and mindful presence.

TaVee McAllister Lee, Baby, paper fragment installation, 11.5" x 14.5" | 2020
Tamera Avery, Squeeze, oil on canvas | 2020

Work by TaVee McAllister Lee

"I’ve become intrigued with combining various paper elements into intimate collages of a free nature. Placed in relationship to each other they begin to speak of the spaces between things, the jagged edges, the frayed or unfinished, a little off kilter perhaps but ever so beautiful in their own way. At the same time, the work emerges as a metaphor or question about something else. It isn't just the thing that it is, it is also a vehicle for an idea, exploration or conversation. I think about things like our consumption, our values, and our impact on the environment and on each other. Also, to a great degree, these paper installations reflect on the tenuousness of life. The work is meant to look as if might fall apart or come apart easily, but also, it’s tougher than it looks. It is ok if it provokes a little anxiety or unease. It is meant to feel possibly even a little painful but at the same time ascending/transforming/becoming something other than the thing it is. "

Work by Tamera Avery

"My work is a celebration of youth, where the young are the champions of change in flawed social, political, and environmental landscapes. Faced with ever-mounting global change, the young have the knowledge to understand what is at stake and—with their increasingly powerful voices—the ability to rearrange the balance of power. To shift this balance visually, my subjects wear masks and costumes that augment their agency and the space they take up. Originally prompted by folk carnivals celebrating the arrival of spring, I employ found images and objects along with homemade costumes to portray figures modest in composition but heroic in execution. Through a process starting with collage, isolated images function as vocabulary, deconstructing visual truths and reconstructing them into stories that call for action. Using imagery from the White House to Chernobyl, icebergs to abandoned ships, I work at the intersection of the current reality and the possibility of change to tell a story of hope in a landscape of despair—with armor-clad youth standing in the path of destruction."

Installation Shots