tara bursey

skin and hair studies | garlic skin, head of garlic, corn silk, adhesive | dimensions variable | 2010

I first came across Tara Bursey's work online while researching local artists for the Toronto Craft Alert. I was impressed by her intricate sculptures and her attention to detail. Tara has been an inspiration to me and it has been great working with her. This girl is a major talent, watch out for her. 

T A R A  B U R S E Y

I am an interdisciplinary artist whose work usually involves conceptual, transformative work with unlikely everyday materials such as food, as well as paper, fibre and materials commonly associated with the realm of craft.  My work often involves surprising formal parallels between unrelated objects such as food waste and flesh, miniature shrimp and lace tatting, and onion skin and feathers.

At the root of my work is a concern with the simultaneous resilience and fragility of the human body.  Past work has addressed the place of the body with relation to labour, endurance, institutional settings and behavior as well as explored the similarities between human, plant and animal forms.  I often employ food materially as a vehicle to address the place of the body within contemporary culture.

Tara Bursey is a recent graduate of the Toronto School of Art’s Diploma Program (2006) and Independent Studio Program (2008).  In the past few years, she has exhibited extensively throughout Toronto in a diverse range of venues, from storefront window installations, telephone poles and tattoo shops to the Textile Museum of Canada, the Ontario Crafts Council, as well as in group exhibitions in Halifax, Saskatoon and Copenhagen. Tara’s most recent projects include coordinating The Portable Library Project and installation programming for City of Craft, an annual contemporary craft event that takes place in Toronto. She began studies towards a degree in Criticism and Curatorial Practice at OCAD University in September of 2009. 

skin study (hand) | garlic skin, adhesive | 6" x 4" x 1.5" | 2010
braid | egg noodles on wall | approximately 26" x 2" x 2.5" | 2008
corn maze | corn silk on 100% Kozo paper | 8" x 8" | 2010
corn maze (detail) | corn silk on 100% Kozo paper | 8" x 8" | 2010

shrimplace iv | dehydrated miniature shrimp, adhesive | 10" x 10" framed | 2007-08
shrimplace iv (detail) | dehydrated miniature shrimp, adhesive | 10" x 10" framed | 2007-08

 toothbrush (vermicelli) | modified toothbrush, vermicelli noodles | 5" x 0.5" x 0.5" | 2007
zine making | 2010

what are your processes?

The first creative process I ever engaged in was drawing.  After that, I started to make zines and self-publish, at first about punk rock culture, feminism, and my personal experiences.  Later, I eventually came back around to drawing, collage and art in general through zine-making.   I think this background working with paper, the production of multiples and DIY-type processes comes through often in my sculpture work.  Within my current art practice, even though I generally work sculpturally, I always find myself going back to drawing and self-publishing whenever I need a change or feel stuck.

With sculpture, I work with craft processes like crochet, weaving and embroidery, but in my own perverted, untrained way.  I also use glue a lot.  Sometimes I use crude mouldmaking techniques.  Most of my processes are based in experimentation and instinct, and rooted in the fact that I’m largely untrained in conventional sculpture and fine craft techniques.  Also, my processes usually change from project to project. 

what are your inspirations?

My childhood, symmetry, pattern, music, nature, fear, walking, occasional isolation, particular neighbourhoods and dialogue with other creative people.  Above all, the amazing work and productivity of other artists inspires me and keeps me on my toes.

what kind of advice would you give to a aspiring crafter/artist?

Learn the rules before you try to break them.  Try different things.  Make lists and write down your ideas.  Work hard and think critically about your work and the work of others.  Become engaged with your local art community and put yourself out there. Go out and talk to other artists and curators…and if you are concerned about looking dumb or weird, try to remind yourself that all artists are weird and awkward…it’s not just you. 

Also-- learn to draw!  Drawing is a valuable, elemental artistic skill.  It will come in handy, no matter what your discipline. 

what is one thing that people don't know about you (non art/craft related)?

I am obsessed with 60s and 70s psychedelic rock music, and have a huge record collection!  And I’m half Macedonian.

tara bursey :

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