Tallmadge’s paintings engage the politics of beauty and surface. She creates a dialogue between external stimuli in urban and natural environments and a more internal process of making. Through the accretion of decorative materials, the pieces function as meditative artifacts that evoke sedimentation, growth, and decay.
Beyond the conceptual aspects of their construction, the paintings themselves have a visceral and physical vitality that makes viewing them an unfolding and hypnotic experience. The accumulated layers of glitter, mica, leafing, and pigment make each piece an optically elusive target that shifts when viewed from different angles. The aggregate materials make one think of some sort of ghostly geology. Nebulous yet simultaneously grounded, these paintings uncannily conjure both rock and cloud formations.
Using process-based strategies such as the pouring, dripping, and scraping of Pat Steir, Lynda Benglis, and Rudolf Stingel, Tallmadge transforms her work into something personal and haunting. There is a perversity to the way in which she aggregates and abrades surfaces crafted from media typically associated with cosmetics; she creates a sense of depth that connects to a bleak and almost gothic yearning. These pieces reference the self-seriousness of field painting, yet remain light-hearted.
Ultimately, all art historical references and attempts to verbalize the phenomenology of this enigmatic work fall short. The mundane collides with the sublime, seduction combines with abjection, seriousness pushes against humor. With a gleeful wink, Tallmadge makes her earnest engagement with abstraction and mysticism look as much fun as throwing glitter around the dance floor. The paintings accelerate the monochrome into a multi-faceted visual and conceptual display, performing what the artist herself calls “disco alchemy.”
Rosalind Tallmadge lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. She has shown in Cincinnati, Detroit, Miami, Seattle, and New York. She received her MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art in 2015, attended residencies at Yale Norfolk and OxBow, and received her BFA in Painting and BA in Art History from Indiana University.
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