Beautiful Resilience – A Tribute To Tara Bryan
Christina Parker Gallery is honoured to pay tribute to gallery artist Tara Bryan with an exhibition of selected paintings.
I first met Tara Bryan in 1987 when came to Newfoundland to visit a friend with whom she had completed a Master of Fine Arts program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. That was when we began our professional relationship.
As an artist Tara described herself as a voyeur in the original sense of the word: one who watches. Intrigued by things unexpected and subtle change, she incorporated this sense of quiet observation into her paintings and book works.
For the thirty years that she practised as a painter, Tara focused her work on the Newfoundland landscape, particularly the rugged coastline and its ever-changing light and atmospheric conditions. Omitting signs of human habitation, she concentrated on primordial rock formations, icebergs and the open sea to create paintings about light, time, and solitude.
Tara is recognized for her paintings of icebergs. She was fascinated by their mystery. The following is a quote from a statement she made in April, 2010 in a public talk about her solo exhibition, On Ice, at The Rooms Provincial Art Gallery.
“On a visit to Newfoundland, around 1990, I saw an iceberg for the first time. I remember walking along Queen’s Road and seeing a smallish iceberg framed by the Narrows. At the end of most every block, the view opened up down the hill and out toward the ocean, revealing a mysterious and changing scene. I was gobsmacked. Photographs were woefully inadequate to capture what I saw and to convey my sense of wonder to anyone else, but they served to rekindle the memory of that vision and gave me enough information to paint.”
Tara Bryan was instrumental in introducing the concept of artist books as an art form to the arts community of Newfoundland and Labrador. Both painting and book arts were a part of her art practise from the beginning. She was initially known as a painter but as her years of making and learning the art of bookmaking grew she encouraged other artists to get involved. She gave workshops on making artist books and collaborated on book projects with well known artists. Artist book collaborations with Ann Meredith Barry, Kevin Major, Robin Smith Peck, Luben Boykov and Elena Popov, John Hartman and Kathleen Knowling were critically recognized projects. In 2012 Tara was elected into the Royal Canadian Academy and acknowledged for her accomplishment in creating artist books. In 2018 the Alcuin Society honoured Tara Bryan with an award for book design for Facades for Mark Rothko, text by Crispin Elsted.
As a practising visual artist, Tara exhibited in 12 solo exhibitions in NL and 78 group and two person exhibitions across Canada. Pathways, a two person collaboration with Diana Dabinett, exhibited Tara’s large scale coastal paintings on canvas and an installation of large scale paintings on silk by Diana Dabinett. The exhibition toured Canada and received outstanding accolades throughout the tour. In 2010, On Ice, an exhibition of major paintings around icebergs was featured at the Rooms Provincial Art Gallery.
In tandem with a prolific art practise Tara gave generously to her art community. She taught art both to private students and to students in the education system. She conceived an art program for the Department of Continuing Education at Memorial University, and taught in Arts Smarts programs in the surrounding area and in other parts of the province. She gave her time to advocacy in artist run centers such as Eastern Edge Gallery and was an important early contributor to VANL-CARFAC.
Tara Bryan centered her life around the arts as a creator and worked hard to raise the bar for artist practitioners in the province. The VANL EVA ENDURANCE AWARD was awarded to Tara Bryan at the EVA Awards in 2021 in acknowledgement of her outstanding contribution to the arts in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Beautiful Resilience opens to the public on Saturday, Nov. 13, during regular gallery hours.
The gallery will be open to visitors during regular hours and we ask that guests maintain social distancing protocols, wear a mask inside the gallery, and sign the contact tracing form.
Gallery hours are 11–5pm Tuesday through Saturday.