Tau Lewis’s Monumental Textile Masks Envision a Legendary Put up-Apocalyptic Transformation — Colossal
Translating to “the voice of the folks is the voice of god,” Vox Populi, Vox Dei is artist Tau Lewis’s reimagining of historic methods and ideas. The Latin phrase is usually related to the British Whig social gathering and the institution of secular democracies all through Europe, though Lewis hones in on the saying’s lingering spiritual reference as she envisions huge characters who’ve emerged from an apocalypse.
Six sculptural masks populate the gallery at 52 Walker for the artist’s ongoing solo present, which explores what she describes as “the incapacity of humankind to create buildings of legislation, ideas of morality, or hierarchies of presidency with no reliance on the imaginary.” The monumental works, the biggest of which stands upwards of 13 toes, meld classical myths, modern science fiction, and the dramatic performances related to Yoruban masking traditions. Targeted on the concept of transformation following destruction, the gathering engenders a joyful, hopeful outlook.
Born in Toronto and now based mostly in New York, Lewis’s world-building is exclusive and notably expansive because it connects myriad our bodies of labor: every character inside Vox Populi, Vox Dei comprises fragments of the artist’s earlier tasks, engendering what she phrases a “materials DNA” that programs all through her oeuvre. In an analogous vein, the sculptures pay homage to the legacies of the materials themselves. The artist stitches salvaged textile scraps, donated leather-based, and remnants from a Lengthy Island furrier into patchwork eyes and lips, tousled hair-like fringe, and vibrant floral tendrils that dangle and pool on the ground. Otherworldly and imposing, the works are totems for an imagined future.
In case you’re in New York, you may see Vox Populi, Vox Dei by means of January 7, 2023, and Lewis’s work can also be included in Black Atlantic, which is up at Brooklyn Bridge Park by means of November 22. Discover extra of her genealogical archive on her website and Instagram.
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