Informality is delighted to share its latest artist spotlight focusing on Australian photo-media artist, Tamara Dean. For over a decade Tamara Dean’s practice has explored our relationship as humans with our environment.
Informality has curated a selection of recent work as an antidote to our current international crises by re-framing the experience of isolation through Tamara’s universe.
Through this collection of Tamara’s works and her use of the figure in the landscape we consider the current confines of social distancing, her work offers a new perspective to the sense of isolation, urging consideration of the solace that can be found in solitude.
We look into Tamara’s symbolic response and inspiration behind the isolated, illuminating figures just as artists such as John William Waterhouse and the pre-raphaelites introduced into their work, and whether through this challenging time the isolation and subsequent reflection can give birth to wisdom. But more so, what is it for Tamara Dean? And the need for the artist to respond to our natural environment, and what do we learn when we are re-invigorated with our nomadic position in understanding that we are here to coexist with nature. Has Covid-19 encouraged us to reconnect with our roots as a species?
“Once I enter the forest, I shift into another place inside myself. The smell of the Earth and leaves, the sounds, the textures, and the play of light through the foliage, all come together to create an elevated sense of reality for me. It makes me feel more active and more capable of being in the moment. I drift into what I could only describe as something akin to a daydream. I am mesmerised by the micro and the macro. My senses are heightened. For me, this is the closest to what I would consider a spiritual experience”.
Throughout Tamara’s work, we witness an absence of clothing in a natural setting. Tamara’s intention has us consider ourselves as a primal species removed from any contemporary and western status, reminding us that we are not superior to nature but as part of it. Since the existence of humans, our natural environment has been the major infrastructure to our lives and not just an escape into a form of health, before cities and the demands of society, we walked to commute between villages or camps, we farmed independently, hunted and thrived socially within our communities.
“Tamara’s work creates beautiful ways of saying painful things”.
In Tamara’s work, the figure is free to react and respond to the natural environment.
Now having been isolated herself, Tamara Dean makes a practice of heading out onto her property in Australia, each afternoon she photographs her own body in the landscape, becoming the illuminated figure in the landscape, immersing her body in the frigid water, buries herself in crevices, enclosing her body in blossoming flowers and harnesses the movement of the wind. But at the end of the day, bruised, scratched and bitten, Dean is re-energised by the intimate physical sensation of being alive.