Brooklyn based artist Tara McPherson invites us to her studio and talks about her solo show “The Bunny and the Moon” at Jonathan LeVine Gallery.
Butterfly: This is your second solo show at Jonathan LeVine Gallery. What projects have you been involved in since your first solo show in 2008?
Tara McPherson: Since the last solo show ‘Lost Constellations’ I had my second art book, of the same name, come out through Dark Horse. I went on a 30 city book tour through the US, Europe and Brazil doing some awesome events to support the book and met such an array of amazing people.
I’ve done a variety of toys, my favorite being my 12 piece mini-figure set called ‘Gamma Mutant Space Friends’ by Kidrobot. And have still been traveling and doing art shows and lectures all over in The Philippines, Australia, Ireland, France, Brazil, Italy, Mexico and more. It’s been a whirlwind of fantastic times! But in opposition to that, it’s been so nice being home finally and settling down to focus on these new paintings.
Your show is called “The Bunny and the Moon”. Is there a story behind it?
Yes! Especially so on this one. People were asking me how all my travels would be influencing my work, and I was trying to think of an elegant way to show the world that. The thing that provoked the theme and title of the show, and the first time I was struck with the realization of the huge diversity of social perspectives, was while I was in Japan having a dinner with some new friends. We somehow began discussing the moon and I mentioned the man in the moon. My friend looked at me with this quizzical face and said “A man in the moon? You mean the bunny in the moon don’t you?” My face lit up at the notion that when we all look at the moon people in Japan see a bunny! The legend, in a nutshell, is about the bunny that sacrificed his life to feed a starving man that was actually a deity in disguise. In homage to selflessness the bunny showed he made his ashes fly up to the moon so all could remember his image and act for ages to come.
So in revisiting and evolving that myth, my main show image is about this legend and how the the ultimate sacrifice of a life and death can be equated to love, to give yourself to someone so completely and selflessly. And will they love you back? Will they write you a love letter on the blank piece of paper over your heart, or will they use it as a target like an executioner?
How long have you been preparing for this show?
I have been doing research and readings on myth and legends since last year and I started the drawings and paintings in March. In one of the books, A Short History of Myth by Karen Armstrong, she goes through how the creation of myth was key in early man’s ability to try to comprehend their existence and and put meaning in their lives and deaths, how myth and legend paired with rituals evolved into organized religion, and her theory on the future of myth for a modern logical and rational age… The beauty that is literature and art and how that is now and should be used to enlighten the mind and spirit of the modern man, replacing outdated religious myths that most dont relate to or follow anymore. I thought is was a very interesting overview on the evolution of myth, and reinforced my desire to revisit some of the fantastical myths that people used to believe in, but to reinterpret and modernize them.
Which medium have you been working on?
This show is all oil on linen stretched on birch panel. And I am making some very limited plush sculptures as well.
Where did you take your inspiration from? The myths I am exploring span across many countries and cultures. The main ones being from Japan, Brazil, The Middle Ages, and Pagan, Saxon and Greek cultures. Can you describe your creative process? After all the research I begin with writing notes and ideas, then doodling my thumbnails, creating larger final drawings, then I use a projector to transfer them to the linen and start painting away!
Photos by Tara McPherson and Butterfly
Here are some teaser pics from the Show
The Bunny in the Moon
Oct 23 thru Nov 20, 2010