“Everything That Rises” Illustrates the Continued Consequences of Colonialism

By: Catherine McLaughlin, Diversions Editor

Friday, Feb. 22, Laura Tanner Graham’s exhibition, “Everything That Rises” concluded in the Thompson Gallery of the Roe Art Building. Tanner Graham’s exhibition began Tuesday, Jan. 22 and was celebrated with a reception and artist talk on Feb. 4.

Tanner Graham’s work draws on socio-political events to explore the discrepancies among perceived and experienced stories in contemporary Western society.

In “Everything that Rises,” Tanner Graham’s collection consists of pieces constructed out of ink on hand-cut mylar, resulting in meticulous and intricate illusions. These pieces, as Tanner Graham describes in her artist’s statement, explore the continued consequences of colonialism through their visual density. She says, “These drawings solicit the viewer’s attention through seemingly serene veils of nostalgia and offer varying perspectives of a history repeating itself.”

Tanner Graham says that her work constructs new narratives that record modern-day accounts of injustice through appropriated and invented imagery from period specific patterns and advertisements. In her statement, she describes the collage-like methodology of her work, which “points to the social rules and hierarchies in which delicately constructed and carefully arranged presentation intentionally alters perception.”

She adds, “My work plays a subtle deception on an ornate and elaborate stage set to the cadence of continuous racial, sexual and gender inequalities while creating a continuous narrative that chronicles the Western struggle with diversity in the face of white fragility.”

Her work has been exhibited nationally in both group and solo exhibitions at institutions such as the Weatherspoon Art Museum at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans and the Jonathan Ferrara Gallery in New Orleans. In addition to her exhibitions, Tanner Graham has participated in national art fairs such as Pulse!, Miami, Prospect. 4, and New York City’s Armory Week’s Art on Paper.

Tanner Graham currently lives in Tucson where she serves as an Assistant Professor in the School of Art at the University of Arizona. Prior to assuming her current role, she has been a visiting artist at academic institutions such as The University of Alabama and Tulane University. She has been supported through fellowships and residencies at the Ucross Foundation, the Vermont Studio Center and Hambridge Center for the Creative Arts and Sciences. Tanner Graham earned a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Florida State University.

Following the conclusion of “Everything that Rises,” the Furman art Department will be hosting professional photographer, Lara Rossignol, who will give a lecture on the role of commercial photography in the worlds of business and fine art in the Roe Art Building’s Littlejohn Lecture Room Friday, Feb. 22 from 6 to 7 p.m. Rossignol has worked in celebrity and fashion photography than 30 years in cities such as Los Angeles, Atlanta and New York City. She has worked with celebrities such as Johnny Depp, Quentin Tarantino and Ludacris, and has worked with clients such as Bloomingdale’s, Max Factor Cosmetics and Chronicle Books.

From Feb. 28 to March 28, the Furman Art Department will be hosting “Knowing in Part” by visiting artist, Aaron Collier. A reception and artist talk will be held Thursday, March 28 from 6 to 7 p.m. in the Roe Art Building Gallery. As a visual artist, Collier resides in New Orleans where he teaches drawing and painting at Tulane University as an Assistant Professor.

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