131 Chrystie Street
Split; One Night Only, Solo Exhibition
Catherine Tafur presents works on canvas, paper and a live performance at Envoy Enterprises.
“Cha- Cha- Cha Changes, turn and face the strange...” Catherine Tafur’s works explore ideas surrounding gender, sexuality and loss of innocence through images of androgynous figures painfully mutated and transformed.
These “changelings” bare their innocence, pain, sexual pervasiveness and mutations openly to the viewer. Both Beautiful and disturbing, some recall mythical combinations of human – beast not made from divine sources but rather painful interventions. “Bisters”, drawing on paper depicts the boy- girl figure with small horns, a snout and blisters forming on the small chest. The body language also ambiguous seems alarmed at s/he’s discovery reacting as if caught off guard poised to run for safety or making a defensive stand towards the unknown pursuer.
“Family” drawing on paper, depicts two larger pubescent figures with gas mask-like head gear holding the small child off it’s feet as they wrangle a tiger mask over it’s head. The suspended child hangs motionless with arms revealing more of a startled fear of an unknown result similar in feeling to stories of forced clitorectomies on young girls. Though the older figures clearly possess both gender physicality’s it is more the stance that suggests the more masculine of the two alluding to the offense of the mutation is from both genders.
(c) Catherine Tafur, "Family" image courtesy of the artist
Catherine Tafur’s performance, a minimal set up consisting of a drawing easel with a drawing of a window with a tree outside. On a small pedestal; charcoal, lipstick, hand mirror, eraser, knife and clear large lidded jar. Tafur plays a soundtrack comprised of therapy sessions, phone messages, readings from the SCUM manifesto by Valerie Solanas and sounds sampled from online pornography layered onto a guitar piece. She draws, erases, re-draws, cuts, and strikes out, the figure and structure of the work continually redefining through process. Her acts are synced with the recording. One memorable act in particular was watching her applying lipstick to her mouth as she kisses the figure’s groin area that is left blank. She then kisses the torso as if healing the wound in an act of love.
And so it begins...
The sound begins with Tafur saying, "Once upon a time, I lay naked, trembling and crying on a bed. I had nothing. I looked out the window and I saw a tree."
Tafur states, “the performance takes as it’s initial narrative, an autobiographical account of past sexual trauma. It then morphs into a hateful rage that becomes directed to the self. The piece is a metaphor about the creative process and the transformation of conflict in art. “
This was Catherine Tafur’s first performance piece. The audience gathered around sitting on the floor or standing. My knee cracked a bit getting up and well worth the effort. I’d gladly do it again to catch her next performance
You can find the performance in it’s entirety on You Tube:
Dianne Bowen, www.diannebowen.com