Constraints: A Review


JULIA JOHNSTONThe current exhibition in Brownson Gallery features Tamara Grace Kwark’s Constraints: A Collection of Strait Jackets. Kwark creates her delicate “strait jackets” from gossamer material. She leaves the sleeves exceptionally long; sometimes a aching them to the sleeves of other jackets. This creates a striking juxtaposition between the light fabric and the heavy, restrictive concept of a strait jacket.

“I think it’s more representative of our nature,” Kwark says, explaining the choice of material.

The show as a whole illustrates emotions and the constraints they hold on us. Viewers are encouraged to touch the jackets, creating a more interactive experience.

The exhibit also features a series of mixed media drawings on canvas. Three dimensional, partially obscured heads are shown sharing the same large jacket; thinly designed out of thread. The drawings are poignantly named: Relational Entrapment, Emotional Entrapment, and Mental Entrapment.

Kwark’s patchy visual style creates a visual landscape that perfectly illustrates the strong hold emotions have on us despite being intangible.

She uses cool neutral tones and translucent textures to mimic the ow of water. The jackets themselves cascade down the wall and through each other’s sleeves creating a connectivity that thoughts and emotions might have. The invocation of water speaks to the fluidity of emotion. Not only do these pieces show how we experience negative feelings, but also how they are felt universally.

Tamara Kwark is a recent graduate of Rhode Island School of Design with a degree in Illustration and Ceramics and is pursuing a master’s degree in Visual Arts Education from Manhattanville College.