Ochi Projects (3301 W Washington Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90018) is pleased to present Mirage, Brooklyn-based artist Adrienne Elise Tarver’s first solo exhibition with the gallery. The exhibition will be on view in our upstairs space from November 10 – December 15 with an opening reception Saturday, November 10 from 6-9pm. 

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Tarver’s work considers associations between representations of race, gender, and place.  After spending time working on a project in New Orleans she began to consider the specific assumptions related to voodoo, magic, and swamps. Combining this with the idea of an archetypical woman/nymph/muse, Tarver created a series of figurative watercolors on tarot card-sized paper, depicting nude women lounging, swimming and bathing in tropical settings.

With a vivid, but specific palette, Tarver’s watercolors act as small, seductive portals, inviting the viewer to become the voyeur. Her subjects are seemingly unaware that they are being observed and appear relaxed, vulnerable and immodest—as though if they did discover they were being watched they wouldn’t really mind. Here Tarver plays with the trope of the oversexualized, scantily clad woman in the jungle. In some ways Tarver is answering the likes of Paul Gauguin, who co-opted and exported a mythologized narrative about exotic life in a tropical paradise with his paintings of nude, brown-skinned Tahitian girls. She actively mines this territory of objectification and illusion perpetuated by patriarchal, colonialist points of view. Other than their skin color and gendered features, her figurative washes lack identifying characteristics—each is at once a specific woman and many women. Like a mirage, these mystical bodies in the jungle are an optical illusion, the human mind is given reign to complete their narrative. Subtlety, Tarver has reminded us of the ways that seemingly innocent viewership in fact plays an active role in perpetuating myth.


‘Mirage’ at Ochi Projects, Los Angeles - November 10 - December 15, 2018


Oil on canvas

Works on paper