Saints for the Anthropocene
Ceramic, steel, cable, vinyl
Saints is a portrait series born of Tara Daly’s desire for guides through the Anthropocene, the sixth mass extinction, global climate chaos, and into the Transition. Initially finding inspiration in statues of Buddhas and Saints, and subsequently, in public monuments being torn from their pedestals in town squares, her intention is to use the power of canonized personae to direct solutions to the crisis we live in. She has chosen leaders whose works confront the paradigm of separation and extraction with viable and generative alternatives. The portraits are of Buffy Sainte Marie, Octavia Butler, and Vandana Shiva.
In juxtaposition to the portrait series Saints, the series of ceramic portraits Kilotons represent the pinnacle of human invention, collaboration, and treasure brutally misused. The military’s documentation of atomic bomb tests has been previously interpreted by artists like Bruce Conner and Micheal Light in haunting ways. Kilotons use the same source materials as the references for individual portraits of specific detonations. The opposition in the two world views and investments of these two portrait series are poles that continue to fascinate and depress me.
Tara Daly, Saints for the Anthropocene, 2019. From left to right the portraits are of Buffy Sainte Marie, Octavia Butler, and Vandana Shiva. Image courtesy of Adam David Bencomo
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Tara Daly, Saints for the Anthropocene, 2019; Portrait of Buffy Sainte-Marie, 2019; Portrait of Octavia Butler, 2019; Portrait of Dr. Vandana Schiva, 2019; Kilotons/portraits of domestic peacetime atomic detonations from 1945 – 1962, 2017 – 2020. Images courtesy of the artist
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Tara Daly is a California artist working in ceramics who makes paintings and textiles in material-driven processes that explore power, collapse, and connection. She has exhibited at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, the Richmond Arts Center, Contemporary Craft Center among other non-profit art centers and galleries nationally. A graduate of the Santa Monica College of Design, Art and Architecture and the San Francisco Art Institute, Tara has been an artist in residence at Anderson Ranch Center for the Arts, Penland School of Crafts, the Santa Fe Art Institute and received a fellowship to be in residence at the Vermont Studio Center.
To grapple with the sixth mass extinction and climate breakdown, she completed a Permaculture Design Course in 2018, Fritjof Capra’s Systems Thinking course in 2019, and became part of the Earth Regenerators Study Group in 2020