On Tuesday, January 17, 2023, at 11.30am Joseph Gallivan interviews artist Tad Savinar about his new show Musings from the Future, which is on now at PDX Contemporary Art though Feb 25. Savinar talks about the parlous state of politics and the planet, time spent at home during COVID-19, and outsourcing fabrication of his sculptures.
This interview was recorded on Jan. 11, 2023 on a Zoom H2N and engineered by KBOO volunteer Ray Bodwell. https://kboo.fm/blog/55224
This exhibition occurs on the fiftieth anniversary of my pursuits in the studio. This is not to say this exhibition is any kind of grand milestone in aesthetics or careerism, it simply marks five decades of my involvement.
I have always envisioned my work as a reflection of the cultural moment. With Musings From the Future, I report to you with one foot planted firmly in the past, and the other foot placed on the liquifacting landscape of tomorrow. No one can deny the last few years has seen the erosion of social norms and civic institutions. And while I wish it was otherwise, I doubt the pendulum will swing back. As always, I offer neither solutions, nor condolences for these calamities—just my own hand-scribbled notations writ large. Some works in this exhibition such as No Time, Present Tense, The Hand of God, Sputnik III, etc., are expressed in chromatic monotones. They chronicle events that we have witnessed or that have occurred in my imagination. Conversely the veiled, modernist digital prints such as Desires Denied, Watchman, Nighttime Reading, Man and others, resolve themselves through a brooding use of color and chronicle what perhaps has yet to occur.
Whereas we all look to the clocks in our lives to mark the march of moments, the clock faces in this exhibition mark no such specific destinations in the continuum. Time my friends is endless. And within that awareness, I now propose that while many of us believed that man himself was the prime creator of history, I now believe that nature has always been, and will always be, the arbitrator of history.
From the press release:
PDX CONTEMPORARY ART is pleased to present M U S I N G S FROM THE FUTURE an exhibition of new work by Tad Savinar. The exhibition will mark Savinar’s fiftieth year of working in the studio.
With wry wit the ever careful observer Tad Savinar “reports” on our present culture, projecting us into his view of our not-so-distant futures. With our democracy tied up in knots, active viruses invading our lives and climate taking on new behaviors, there has been plenty of grist for the artist to chew on.
The works in the show have resolved themselves in numerous media including cast bronze, digital prints on paper, and printed silk, among others. Alongside the exhibition the artist has produced an illustrated brochure detailing the show with an essay by curator and arts writer Linda Tesner who says of the artist, “I have been following Savinar's work for the past three decades. One curious aspect of Savinar's studio practice is that he has an uncanny way of anticipating the future. His work has a prescience that is simultaneously funny and sobering—worth paying attention to.”
Tad Savinar has worked as a visual artist, urban planner, playwright, and director. Born in Portland, Oregon, Savinar has been an active member of the state’s cultural community for the past 50 years. His artistic practice focuses on the relationship between the individual and notions of officialdom— be they governmental, religious, or parental. His work offers lessons in national pride, economics, and civics. For Savinar, language often functions best as image, where it can slip from spoken to seen, toying with the senses and complicating the everyday.
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Joseph Gallivan has been a reporter since 1990. He has covered music for the London Independent, Technology for the New York Post, and arts and culture for the Portland Tribune, where he is currently a Feature Writer. He is the author of two novels, "Oi, Ref!" and "England All Over" which are available on Amazon.com