About the Artist
[Tucson, AZ _ b. 1987 Atlanta, Ga.]
Tanner Graham’s work references historical socio-political events to probe the contradictions between perceived and experienced narratives in contemporary Western society. Implementing appropriated and invented imagery, her work exposes the unceasing current of systemic colonialism. Tanner Graham has exhibited nationally in both group and solo exhibitions including the Weatherspoon Art Museum, the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, and the Jonathan Ferrara Gallery in New Orleans. She has been invited to participate in several national art fairs including, Pulse!, Miami, Prospect.4 in New Orleans, and the Art on Paper fair during Armory week in New York City. She has also been a visiting artist at several academic institutions including Tulane University and the University of Alabama. Her work has been supported through fellowships and residencies at the Ucross Foundation, the Vermont Studio Center and Hambidge Center for the Creative Arts and Sciences. She currently resides in Tucson where she is an Assistant Professor in the School of Art at the University of Arizona.
My drawings examine the consequences of American colonialism and addresses the sense of white fragility that continues to pervade Western culture. Using india ink on double-frosted mylar, I create intricate drawings that reference period-specific wallpaper patterns, printed textiles and décor. With a collage-like methodology, I combine invented imagery with imagery appropriated and from textiles, wallpaper patterns and Americana advertisements to create an object that is as much tapestry as it is drawing. Hand-cut lace patterns and images tuck and fold over specific vignettes, concealing the drawing underneath in order to reveal alternative narratives. By borrowing directly from the decorative arts, the meticulously hand-cut mylar and equally intricate drawing capitalizes on America’s propensity for sentimentality. The dense visual language invites investigation into the textured surfaces and leads the viewer to reflect on the social textures of contemporary culture while questioning their own complicity in current social constructs.