deborah tarr: the private lives of objects

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Cadogan Contemporary's e-catalogue for Deborah Tarr's 2010 exhibition 'The Private Lives of Objects'.



  • Front Cover Detail: Journeyman, assemblage, 122 x 122 cm / 48 x 48


    16th November 11th December 2010

    Gallery hours:Monday-Saturday 10am- 6pm

    (or by appointment)

    CADOGAN CONTEMPORARY87 Old Brompton Road

    London SW7 3LDTelephone: +44 (0)20 7581 5451


    All of the paintings may be viewed on our


    Im a big fan of Kurt Schwitters, a great pioneer of the abstract collage. His ambition to create connections, if possible, between everything in the world, along with the likes of Joseph Cornell and Robert Rauschenberg were an inspiration for this exhibition.

    Ive always made collages in sketchbooks as a form of drawing and for working out compositions, so this new work explores further the relationship between my painting and that activity. Most exciting has been incorporating the innate nuances and sensual qualities of objects which seem to have a poetry of their own. The joy was to arrange them as these assemblages, thereby strangely giving them a new life beyond the commonplace - a life with new expressive possibilities.

    Deborah Tarr



    The Private lives of Objects exhibits Deborah Tarrs trademark

    abstract oil-paintings alongside a series of her more experimental collages

    and assemblages that come together through their celebration of the

    sensuous qualities of materials.

    Like minimalist objects, her paintings focus on their own materiality.

    The oil-paint is alternately scraped back and layered on in thick impasto,

    sometimes revealing a lightness of touch, or savaged to reveal the

    malleability of the medium. Equally, beautifully subtle nuances of colour

    enhance the paints properties and accumulated textures. The canvasses

    tell the story of their own creation, which is not always smooth but

    nevertheless worked to an affirmative resolution. In this way the paintings,

    encouraged by their titles, serve to elicit abstract concepts and emotions.

    Tarrs collages and assemblages do not differ as much conceptually from

    the paintings as they do visually. Self-referential and abstract, their titles

    work to similar effect. In My Place, a used wooden palette is the main

    formal component, whilst the title imbues it with meaning as a signifier of My Place, assemblage,

    43 x 33 cm / 17 x 13

  • Tarrs identity, aligning painting with herself and her home. Objects are

    treasured not only for their formal characteristics but for the subliminal

    emotive qualities they might hold for each individual. Tarrs creations

    elegantly echo the neo-Dada assemblages of the 1950s in America. Made

    of found objects in the studio, the assemblages are created intuitively

    to offset playful relationships of form, texture, colour and presence. A

    rusty red piece of tractor on a wooden slab, remnants of stained cloth and

    pieces of rubber arranged in apparent disarray animate the canvasses to

    become new, autonomous objects that nevertheless have a classical sense

    of harmony and balance.

    The title Wabi-Sabi resonates throughout the whole exhibition. A

    Japanese aesthetic concept, it infers a type of flawed beauty that values

    change and imperfection and where objects can transcend their materiality

    and help us connect better with the world around us. These pieces could

    be seen as reassurance of our own existence: they are built of layers and

    transitions, restructured and inevitably changed. Importantly for Tarr, they

    celebrate the journey of creation and of being, drawing parallels between the

    material qualities of objects, the painted surface and the intangibility of

    the metaphysical.

    Maxime LongdenSeptember,

    oil on canvas,144 x 188 cm / 57 x 74

  • Journeyman, assemblage,

    122 x 122 cm / 48 x 48

  • Paintings photographed by John Caruana

    Meet Me on Charlotte Street, collage,

    35 x 40 cm / 14 x 16

  • Old Flame, mixed media on canvas,122 x 122 cm / 48 x 48

  • Pale Blue and Burnt Sienna, Mull, oil on canvas,

    81 x 81 cm / 32 x 32

    Marais House, collage,

    30 x 38 cm / 12 x 15

  • Almost Everything, collage,

    66 x 35 cm / 26 x 14

  • Emerald Sea, Zennor, oil on canvas,

    61 x 61 cm / 24 x 24

    Splendid Peasant, collage,

    53 x 71 cm / 21 x 28

  • Wabi-Sabi II, oil on canvas,

    122 x 122 cm / 48 x 48

    Somewhere Special Sometime, oil on canvas,

    122 x 122 cm / 48 x 48

  • Mull Coastline, Turquoise Sky, oil on canvas,

    81 x 81 cm / 32 x 32

    Attraction, assemblage,

    81 x 66 cm / 32 x 26

  • Creamy Light, Turquoise Coast, oil on canvas,

    81 x 81 cm / 32 x 32

    Haymaker, collage,

    58 x 48 cm / 23 x 19

  • By the Light of the Silvery Moon, mixed media on canvas,

    66 x 55 cm / 26 x 22

  • Ardnamurchan, March Afternoon, oil on canvas,

    129 x 129 cm / 51 x 51

    Affectionately Yours, assemblage,

    86 x 71 cm / 34 x 28

  • Pale Sky, Ardnamurchan, oil on canvas,

    140 x 140 cm / 55 x 55

    Writhe, assemblage,

    76 x 50 cm / 30 x 20

  • Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, mixed media,

    152 x 152 cm / 60 x 60

  • Exactly Like You, collage,

    83 x 55 cm / 33 x 22

  • Table Talk, oil on canvas,

    61 x 71 cm / 24 x 28

  • Bold, mixed media,

    68 x 38 cm / 27 x 15

  • Inside Back Cover

  • CADOGAN CONTEMPORARY87 Old Brompton Road

    London SW7 3LDTelephone: +44 (0)20 7581 5451