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QUIRK Reception + Artist Talk: Amy Tavern

Join us on Thursday, May 16 for the opening of Amy Tavern's solo exhibition, And the ground will move anyway. This reception will be held in Quirk's Main Gallery from 5-8 pm and will include an artist talk, scheduled to begin around 6:30 pm.

What does it mean to be in two places at once? While I live physically in the United States, a part of me dwells emotionally in Iceland. As a result, I am conflicted. The tension builds as I try to negotiate contentedness and longing, comfort and detachment. To understand this predicament, I retrace my experiences through drawing, collaging, and the layering of photographs. As I create, I rely on both logic and intuition, moving from one to the other and back again—making the invisible, visible.

These two places, Iceland and San Francisco, are both situated on tectonic plates. Beneath San Francisco, the San Andreas Fault is constantly shifting, while Iceland slowly expands as the North American and Eurasian plates diverge. I see this seismic activity as a metaphor for my own experience. As tectonic plates shift, tension builds and collisions occur. Similarly, my life shifts as tension grows and releases, leaving me feeling divided. And the ground will move anyway addresses this dual existence and illustrates the methods I use to understand what it means to feel simultaneously attuned and fragmented.

This work began with a collection of obsolete paint color samples. One by one I read their names aloud: Ornamental Grass, Mirror Lake, Star Cluster. Together, the once arbitrary words became a poem, one that describes some kind of landscape—both physical and in the realm of my memory. As I crushed and tore apart each card, I recalled the waves of the Pacific or the sound of a glacier calving. I thought about standing between tectonic plates or when I felt the rumble of an earthquake. Smaller, quieter details also emerged: the color of succulents and the texture of minute vegetation, the smell of salt and earth. This process of recalling helped me identify the sites I inhabit when I feel pulled in opposite directions. I find solace along the edges and within the interstitial spaces. These borders and cracks are the lines that guide me, while also serving as symbolic archives for my memories. These places are where past and present can live in harmony, where my two homes exist as one.

Through a combination of accumulation, layering, and chance, I create collages, drawings, photographs, and sculpture. To illustrate psychological spaces, a welcoming lava field in Iceland is paired with a California plain that seems to send a warning. To conjure parallel worlds, island shapes are floated atop cartographic lines in a series of imaginary maps. Collaged monochrome colors and merging moments evoke the homeostasis and sense of belonging I seek. Allowing gravity to play a role, I connect lines to shapes, create pathways to memories, and establish points of orientation by draping rope from Iceland and the United States in varying catenaries. Written behind it, the names of those 170 colors from the beginning mark a poem about the faraway.

Amy Tavern is an interdisciplinary artist. She has exhibited nationally and internationally with solo shows in the United States, Belgium, Sweden, and Iceland. She has taught and lectured across the country and in Europe, and her work as a metalsmith has been included in numerous publications, most notably, the cover of Metalsmith Magazine. A believer in phenomenology, her work begins with direct experience and, although autobiographical, refers to the human condition, emotion and memory, and the passing of time. Using labor-intensive methods, Amy translates recollection through drawing, photography, sculpture, animation, and video.

Originally from Richfield Springs, New York, Amy holds a BA in Arts Administration from the State University of New York College at Fredonia, a BFA in Metal Design from the University of Washington, Seattle, and an MFA in Fine Arts from California College of the Arts in San Francisco. Amy is a former Penland School of Crafts resident artist and has completed numerous artist residencies in Iceland.

Amy lives and works in San Francisco, California.

And the ground will move anyway will be on view in Quirk's Main Gallery May 16 through June 23.

Earlier Event: May 11
QUIRK Pop-up: Polished Concrete