Image: courtesy of the artist
Keer Tanchak. Celine, 2016. Courtesy of the artist
Keer Tanchak’s work is a discernible exploration of the canon of painting. Sampling historical artworks and appropriating recognizable techniques and genres, Tanchak honestly proves that emulation is essential for painting - a medium that has always operated in a web of tradition and mass cultural references. While engaging with past epochs such as French rococo or European avant–garde, Tanchak often zooms in on marginalized personages in mise-en-scènes, thus infusing the figures with stronger messages and bringing to light the politics of representation.
In her first museum solo exhibition, Tanchak creates a site specific installation embracing the architecture and history of the building - the metal fabrication factory. This new body of work aims to push the boundaries of display by engaging the entire physical body through the unification of painting and sculptural installation with shiny aluminum which has continually replaced canvas in Tanchak’s artistic practice. The installation functions as a metaphorical X-ray machine which exposes the basic elements of the painting language: the expressiveness of brushwork, the emotive nature of color, and transcendental quality of scintillating light.
The immersive installation further addresses the way we perceive art history at present – through tiny reproductions on our gadget screens which resemble virtual post-it notes of a digital art history book. The exhibition title “Soft Orbit” references many elements manifested in the show: gravitation towards primary sources, production of “satellite narratives” around historical works, references to Tanchak’s own stylistic evolutions, the act of perceiving through gazing, ophthalmic sensations, and futuristic references to her spaceship-like installation.
Installation views of the exhibition at Dallas Contemporary, 2017. Photos: Kevin Todora