LEXINGTON, Ky. - An exhibit by Lexington native Lina Tharsing is the newest display in the University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital's East Rotating Gallery, located on the corridor between Pavilion A and Pavilion H.
The installation includes six paintings that reference images from the creation of the New York American Museum of Natural History's dioramas.
Tharsing’s most recent works are painted from archival images taken at the American Museum of Natural History. Installed like a filmstrip, the paintings revisit the creation of the iconic dioramas using only two colors: ivory black and titanium white. The extremely limited palette mimics the coolness of black-and-white film and helps the viewer focus on the structure and geometry of the constructed environments. The panel’s sides are intentionally left unpainted, showing drip marks and raw wood in order to convey the process by which they were painted.
But unlike the original museum installations, Tharsing's paintings "do not attempt to mimic a natural reality but serve as points of departure to explore the complexities of perception, blurring the boundaries between imagination and reality and speaking to the inherent tensions embodied by those environments," curator Phillip March Jones said.
"Lina Tharsing’s paintings seek a precise moment in both time and space when the lines of fiction and reality intersect," Jones continues." At that instant anything is possible. The traditional limits of belief and understanding are called into question and replaced with a deliberately composed tension of multiple truths. The viewer of these works is asked not to study the individual painted figures, animals, or props but to look through a window onto other worlds and landscapes, across place and time, and to find their own truths."
Lina Tharsing is a Kentucky-based artist whose work has been shown across the southeastern United States. In 2012, she was named a superstar of Southern art by Oxford American. According to the magazine: “Tharsing’s imagination is matched only by her technical skill. Her work is driven by a profound sense of curiosity and a fascination with science, technology, and the natural world. Museum dioramas and found photographs are a few of the many inspirations she renders into line, color, and form. Tharsing is primarily recognized as a painter, but her drawings, photographs, and collages are equally compelling.”
The exhibit will be on display through July.