DECEMBER 1 – 4, 2021
Anat Ebgi is pleased to present a selection of historic sequin tapestries by Tina Girouard at Art Basel Miami Beach. This solo presentation precedes a career retrospective of Girouard’s work, which will open at the Bronx Museum of the Arts, New York in Fall 2023.
Within Girouard’s oeuvre, the sequin works represent the collaborative nature of her approach to making art and her interest in examining cross-cultural influences. After many years researching Haiti’s connection to her native Louisiana, Girouard traveled to the country for the first time in 1990. On this first visit, she met master sequin artist Antoine Oleyant; the two developed a friendship and artistic partnership. The following year, she set up an auxiliary studio in Port Au Prince, where she worked and researched in cultural exchange with Haitian artists for several years. To further promote understanding of these artists and Haitian culture, she authored the seminal book Sequin Artists of Haiti in 1994.
The sequined Vodou prayer flags beckon and pay tribute to Iwa, or “invisibles” in Haitian Creole, spirits who bring messages of faith and hope. Much like Vodou itself, the flags represent a coming together of different cultures and consciousnesses. Reflecting on the time working in Haiti Girouard wrote: “Never intending to appropriate a traditional Haitian art form, my desire was to come to a point of collaboration naturally. Open to sharing our separate ideas, techniques, and cultures, we wanted to achieve that goal spontaneously by working side by side.” Throughout this period Girouard shared her Pattern and Decoration sensibilities while they taught her about Iwa iconography. The earliest sequin pieces were a continuation of her 1980s painting practice including stenciled and repeated patterns with motifs drawn from her home state such as alligators, ants, rifles, and saxophones. The spirit of collaboration in this body of work is underscored in Desir (1998), where names of her collaborators are incorporated in glass beads into the work; exchange was not only part of Girouard’s process, but an essential part of her work’s content.
Girouard’s glittering compositions are rooted in her practice as a post-minimalist and Pattern and Decoration artist. Countering austere minimalist art with exuberant color, eclectic compositions, and unorthodox new materials Girouard reflected Louisiana’s diverse local culture, while also looking into the wider world. Her tapestries draw from a range of influences—flora and fauna, technology, the spiritual—and celebrate the power of cross-cultural dialogue, while raising important questions about authorship, ownership, and authenticity that have only become more relevant in our increasingly globalized world.
Tina Girouard (1946 – 2020) has an exhibition history that includes a 1983 mid-career retrospective mounted at the Rufino Tamayo Museum in Mexico City, and international events such as the 1980 Venice Biennale, the 1977 Paris Biennale, 1977 Documenta VI and 1972 Documenta V, Kassel. Girouard’s work has been exhibited widely at galleries and museums including: Leo Castelli Gallery, The Kitchen, Walker Art Center, New Orleans Museum of Art, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Palais des Beaux-Arts Brussels, Holly Solomon Gallery, David Zwirner, the Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles, and the New Museum. Her work was recently on view in the exhibition With Pleasure: Pattern and Decoration in American Art 1972 – 1985 curated by Anna Katz, originating at MOCA Los Angeles, which travelled to the Hessel Museum of Art, Bard College, NY. Girouard’s work is in the permanent collections of the Hessel Museum of Art, Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY; Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA; Ludwig Forum fur International Kunst Aachen, DE; Rufino Tamayo Museum, Mexico City, Mexico; and Stedelijk Museum Actuele Kunst, Gent, Belgium.