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Tanja Softic´: Gathered from Available Data
Dec 5, 2014 - Mar 21, 2015
My work explores concepts of locating oneself in ever expanding notions of universe and society and the nature of memory. As an immigrant to United States from Bosnia, I am acutely aware of the inadequacy of established definitions of cultural or national identity. Our histories are recorded and pose the questions of how they shape our notions of identity, what is our place and our task in the web of life of the planet, what is cultural memory and to whom does it belong. These questions loom large, and there are no reassuring answers. My work aims to capture this state of flux, acknowledge the obsolescence of categories, and work with the tattered web of memory.
The vocabulary of my pieces includes elements of landscape, microscopic life forms, architectural details and renderings, obsolete geographical maps, astronomical charts and anatomical fragments as visual signifiers of a displaced existence. The images usually begin with the memory of particular place of personal significance and I allow both form and content to take lead as I combine the image with other visual elements. As I develop a print, I am conscious of the atomization and flattening of the image that happens in the process of matrix development (color separation, tracing, halftone, to give a few examples) and aggregation, layering, closing that happens at the printing end. The exchange between the two ways of working with the image is the formal anchor in both my prints and drawings.
About Tanja Softic´
Tanja Softic´ studied at the Academy of Fine Arts of the University of Sarajevo and Old Dominion. An immigrant to the United States from former Yugoslavia, she explores questions of cultural identity, national belonging and experience of exile. She is Professor of Art at the University of Richmond.
She received the Pollock-Krasner Grant, National Endowment for the Arts/ Southern Arts Federation Visual Artist Fellowship and Soros Foundation—Open Society Institute Exhibition Support Grant. Her work is included in numerous collections worldwide, among them New York Public Library, Library of Congress Print Department and New South Wales Gallery of Art in Sydney, Australia. She won a First Prize at the the 5th Kochi International Triennial Exhibition of Prints, Ino-cho Paper Museum in Kochi, Japan in 2002. She completed print projects at Flying Horse Press, Tamarind Institute and Anderson Ranch’s Patton Print Studio.