I was recently awarded the Victor Olorunsola Endowed Research Award for my proposal Hybrid Painting in the Expanded Field - a project that will produce large-scale frescos on 3D carved foam surfaces.
My work was featured in a solo exhibition Tiffany Calvert: Rainbow Chaos at Arkansas State University in November 2017.
contact: tiffanycalvert @ gmail
Tiffany Calvert’s painting draws on historical and contemporary imagery to explore the shifting nature of perception. Her work is primarily concerned with fragmenting and obstructing images, interrupting the transmission of visual information in order to create an opening for the viewer. Composed of diffuse brushstrokes, Calvert’s paintings generate an image that hovers in suspension, simultaneously on the verge of rupture and cohesion.
Calvert’s concern with obstructing vision links up with the long history of modern painting, and is indebted to the work of Cezanne and the early impressionists. As Charles Millard has argued, information was often “unseeable” in such work. Cezanne’s images in particular are “dense to the point of opacity.” For Calvert, painting’s legacy of perplexing images dovetails with the mutability of visual information in our contemporary, everyday lives.
Recently, Calvert has begun to investigate the assiduous detail of Dutch and Flemish still life paintings. The overwhelming amount of visual information in this work often confuses rather than clarifies. Calvert uses this effect as an opportunity to explore the abstraction inherent in representation. In some works, Calvert makes painterly interventions into large-scale reproductions of still life paintings, matching paint to the original and camouflaging it into the image. The result is a painting that is “unseeable” - viewers can’t rely on their perception to know whether they are looking at a photograph or an abstraction.
Calvert’s studio practice alternates between painterly concerns and the critical and theoretical issues surrounding representation and reliability. She currently works in paint, fresco and digital media. Her research interests extend to media theory in reality television and surveillance, and the effect of media on the substantiation of the image.
rom Collapse, Visual Arts Center Gallery, MSU:
...For Calvert, abstraction and figuration spar in an art historical realm, depicting not only a mutual rebuff and attraction of the narrative and the abstract, but also the proximity of tradition and innovation in painting. Calvert's gravitational collapse of narrative information is not merely an injection of visual white noise or a cannibalism of preexisting imagery, but an interruption of familiar subject matter by a proximal transmission of intangibles. Calvert writes, "I seek a precarious balance between figuration and abstraction, using the complexity of the imagery to both create the structure and to confuse, overcomplicate and obscure. Overburdened by their ornament, they collapse. Dissolution, separation, collapse, dissemination. In the dissolution of form the theme is the dissolution of order, of aspiration." In generating a visual disturbance via abstraction, Calvert notifies the viewer of a cusp in the imagery, a beginning of something other than the narrative.
– Adrienne Callander, curator
from Artist Profile: Tiffany Calvert by Elizabeth Johnson
What is her stake in this vortex of confusion and activity? Tiny clusters of pink, circular decorations interrupt the overall composition, and I think: No, that doesn't work. But then I think: Well, maybe it does. If death and disintegration look the same as assembly and reconstruction, and my sense of aesthetic equilibrium is effectively knocked out of whack, then Calvert must truly be dwelling in chaos, which means this brand of off-putting painting is habitable and a platform from which she will continually be scouting ahead, unearthing fresh images, and staying one step ahead of comfort...Her style rises from dappled brushstrokes and air, compelling me to feel lucky to have a toehold in a mixed-up world.