Tamara Gonzales Paints in Lace
Tamara Gonzales’ solo exhibition at Klaus von Nichtssagend Gallery takes its title from the well known Game of Thrones phrase, “Winter is Coming,” delving into the gothic and using lace as a painting material. With ties to the mystical idea of binding, connecting, and interlinking, lace is charged with value regardless of utility. It tends to be given or kept across decades, and it may be associated with purity or seduction, the decorative and the sentimental. Although delicate, lace has lasting power. In Bram Stoker’s Dracula, the character Lucy passes back and forth between a trance of the living and the dead and she is glimpsed wearing a “white lawn frock,” often depicted as adorned with lace, a memento of an enduring sensibility which survives against time. With playful undertones, Gonzales seems to transfer and undo a spell altogether – it remains mysterious as to whether the lace’s past existence draped the body or gathered dust on an ancestor’s shelf before being cut and stenciled on canvas with spray-paint, leaving a shadow that lingers somewhere between luminous and diminished.
Yet, the projected shell of her material’s former presence is never fragile. The bold, painted fragments of lace are sharply imposed upon the canvas, reassembled with ornamentation, like salvaged broken glass, making patterns and sinuous passageways that are open to association. Gonzales’ process of painting sectioned off backgrounds leaves the latticework enhanced and deepened, pulsing with floral patterns that dominate each section of enclosure, divided and edging upon one another like a quarreling couple in sudden harmony. This process of piecing together shards of that which is separate, accepting the fissures while striving to make something whole, carries personal and poetic resonance, and in Winter of Artifice, Anais Nin writes about “the need to recapture the lost terrain, to play the emotional detective for the lost fragments.” Remarking on the life-cycle of these metaphorical fragments, Nin reflects, “Occasionally, like mercury, they fused but they remained elusive and unstable. Corroding in the separateness.”
Within the lace employed by Gonzales, the rose is the most common motif: blue, white and rust colored roses, albeit transferred and pulled out of time. Eventually, the lace becomes hardened by the layered weight of spray-paint, some areas encrusted to the point of breaking the pattern altogether, becoming discarded from future use. These shards are cast aside, but in the formation of these paintings, there are no damaged goods.
“Winter is Coming” will be on view at Klaus von Nichtssagend Gallery until December 8, 2014.