East Village-based artist, Christopher Tanner, says he has always been enchanted by fairy tales, particularly the Wizard of Oz, which he connects with his memory of seeing a drunk Judy Garland on TV in a sequined dress. “I was fascinated by the juxtaposition of that image and the magic of Dorothy — the sparkle and the darkness.”
Coating surfaces in glitter, faux jewels, large paillette sequins, and other shimmering media, Tanner creates exuberant paintings and drawings with these flashy, trashy materials. His work speaks an unabashedly gay patois.
At odds with much work referring to the AIDS epidemic, an issue close to Tanner, these paintings refuse to reside in mourning and outrage, but put forth a heady optimism — the sparkle amidst the darkness.
For Tanner, whose work comes out of a background in theater — acting, singing, set design – the exuberant gestures embodied in his abstract paintings are indelibly linked to performance.
“While pushing his tawdry materials to increasingly expressive extremes, Tanner consciously courts the degraded category of decoration, and wears that affiliation like an extravagant badge of honor.” Matthew Guy Nichols, Art in America.
Curated by Brandi Mathis, in association with Pavel Zoubok Gallery, New York.
For artist’s web page, click here