Adrienne Elise Tarver: She who sits

Adrienne Elise Tarver is a Brooklyn-based multidisciplinary artist. Following the creative impulses of collage, she uses both personal imagery and found photographs as source materials for the paintings in this exhibition.

She who sits is Tarver’s first solo public art exhibition and features six new works that continue her exploration of the centrality of the Black matriarch. Each subject is seated in an intimate environment and each painting is inspired by the artist’s personal archive as well as media archives–especially that of Ebony Magazine, a cornerstone of culture, news, and entertainment. Tarver’s imagery positions the act of sitting as a reclamation of rest and power. The work nods to the ways activists have used sitting in public space as a tool to shift the socio-political dynamic in the United States. For decades, sit-ins have been used by Black activists to enact direct change within legal systems that aimed to confine and erase Black presence. The seated subjects in Tarver’s paintings quietly confront passengers at bus shelters, which in turn offer moments of physical respite and restful contemplation. 

Adrienne Elise Tarver: She who sits is curated by Jenée-Daria Strand, Assistant Curator at Public Art Fund.

About the Artist

Adrienne Elise Tarver is an interdisciplinary artist based in Brooklyn, NY with a practice that spans painting, sculpture, installation, photography, textiles, and video. Her work addresses the complexity and invisibility of Black female identity including the history within domestic spaces, the fantasy of the tropical seductress, and the archetype of the all-knowing spiritual matriarch.

She has exhibited nationally and abroad, including solo shows at the Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art in Connecticut; the Academy Art Museum in Maryland; Atlanta Contemporary in Atlanta, Georgia; Dinner Gallery (formerly Victori+Mo) in New York; Ochi Projects in Los Angeles; Wave Hill in the Bronx, NY; BRIC Project Room in Brooklyn; and A-M Gallery in Sydney, Australia and two-person exhibitions at Hollis Taggart in New York; Wedge Curatorial in Toronto, Canada. She recently received the Distinguished Alumni Award from her alma mater, Boston University, and the Nancy Graves Foundation Grant. She has been commissioned for projects through the New York MTA, the Public Art Fund, Google, Art Aspen, and Pulse Art Fair and has been featured in online and print publications including the New York Times, Forbes, Brooklyn Magazine, ArtNews, ArtNet, Blouin ArtInfo, Whitewall Magazine, and Hyperallergic, among others. She received her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and BFA from Boston University. 

In 2024, Tarver was announced as the inaugural awardee of a new summer residency at Stoneleaf Retreat, in partnership with Artnoir. Her solo exhibition, Where the Waters Go, will be on view at Dinner Gallery in New York City from May 16, 2024 to June 29, 2024. Tarver is represented in Los Angeles, CA and Sun Valley, ID by OCHI.


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