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Taryn Wells
  Artist Statement

3 Briar Hill Road
Medfield, MA 02052
508.359.5785 tel

Artist Statement
  My artwork at this particular time is a dialogue that explores the complicated world of racial identity and the desire to find my place within it as a multiracial individual. The basis of the series emanated from the history of people of mixed race, or lack thereof, in relation to American society. I used the human figure – a public and yet personal image – as a metaphor for my own personal experiences. My goal was to convey the struggle, hardships, and various categorizations that I have undergone through body language and more specifically, facial expression. The different contortions of the body and the intense gazes help convey my feelings of desperation, isolation, vulnerability, and confusion. All of the individuals depicted in my work, whether literally or figuratively, represent parts of my inner-self and can be described as self-portraits.

By using graphite for the series, I was able to create the sharp contrast and isolation that I desired. Most importantly, the medium was able to transmit the continuous theme of black and white. All of the works in the series were done in this matter for exactly that desired effect. As for the majority of these pieces, the incorporation of the “box” motif generated the idea of being under the viewer’s microscope and successfully imparted my feelings of constraint and limitation.

In preparation for my theme, I looked to the controversial subject matter of Kara Walker, the human forms of Robert Longo, the emotion of Caravaggio, the portraiture of John Singer Sargent, and the 19th century documentation of physiognomy and phrenology. Stylistically, I tried to capture moments similar to that of a photograph. This creates a feeling of nostalgia and comfort, yet it is juxtaposed with the underlying crucial issues of racism and bigotry. Even though some of the subject matter may not be familiar, my hope is that the viewer will recognize something of his own experiences and somehow relate to the works in the series.
About the Artist
  Taryn Wells is an emerging and provocative artist who is not afraid to examine the dualities and dark truths of America. Her distinctive perspective on a hidden history manifests itself through art that is sometimes sardonic, sometimes somber, but always compelling. She brings a stimulating and unique view in her body of work, seeing a parallel with today’s perception of race and yesterday’s reality.

Taryn Wells’ drawings have been exhibited in several group exhibitions in galleries and alternative spaces throughout New England and New York City. Ms. Wells is the recipient of numerous awards and honors and is currently a National Member at the A.I.R. Gallery in New York City. Her work is in various private collections nationwide.

Taryn Wells was born in Massachusetts in 1981. She received a B.A. in Studio Art from Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts.
  File updated: 06/14/05, 02:11 PM EDT
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