On Monday night, the Fine Arts Society hosted a gallery opening for Tamara English in Sloan Gallery. Her show “The Worlds Inside” will remain in the gallery until Feb. 19. In English’s words, her work deals with the “personal sense of the divine.” Her oil paintings contain motifs of Indian textiles, botanical shapes and floral patterns re-purposed from illuminated medieval manuscripts all woven together to form fantastic and sensuous scenes.
The palette of the paintings reflect the artist’s idea of the “extraordinary ordinary” in which nature can take on transcendent attributes when viewed in a certain frame of mind. Gold, salmon, lavender and a myriad of soft greens create an olfactory sensation for the viewer, recalling a blooming garden, or some type of confection.
The works are studies of pattern and English uses both stencils and free-hand elements to create the pieces. The patterns are fractal, branching from one another in a way that creates the illusion of movement, and seems to pulsate on the canvas. This kinetic energy helps unite the canvases and create a cohesive experience as you walk through the gallery.
The artist explained that painting is a spiritual exploration for her. That sentiment is reflected in the art as patterns which ascend vertically, indicating a transcendent experience. English’s work is joyful, creating a reflective space which does not weigh the viewer down.