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Tarantino's SuperNatural Exhibition Evokes Sense of Nature

Ann Tarantino, instructor in both the School of Visual Arts and Department of Landscape Architecture, currently has an exhibition of works on paper, titled SuperNatural, at the Washington, D.C. gallery Curator’s Office, through June 25.

The exhibition features works produced by “airy means”—Tarantino creates delicate, tendril-like marks using her breath, an air compressor or paint sprayed from a bottle, resulting in recognizable yet not-quite-nameable forms that evoke a sense of nature.

Teaching design skills and vocabulary to beginning landscape architecture students has sensitized Tarantino to the mapping and structuring of environments on both a macro and microscopic scale. The overall compositions, while seemingly spontaneous, reveal her ideas about overlapping systems.

“I make drawings on paper and on the wall that suggest lonely figures in strange landscapes, underwater creatures, unknowable beings, neural networks, and maps of cities real and invented,” said Tarantino. “My methods include pouring and dropping ink onto a surface or blowing it through a straw to create intricate patterns, using an air compressor to propel paint across a surface, and drawing repeated concentric circles reminiscent of ripples on water, growth marks on trees or early cartographic drawings of an imagined cosmos.”

Tarantino’s experience as a serious competitive swimmer from childhood through young adulthood continues to influence her work. “ … I return continually to the experience of weightlessness while moving through the water. I am interested in the experiences of the body as it moves through space, meeting and evaluating stimuli both internal and external. Inspired by source material ranging from botanical illustrations to contemporary information visualization strategies such as geotagging, musical scores, knitting patterns and cracks in the sidewalk, my work suggests infinite replication and growth, exploring what it looks and feels like to be alive."

Tarantino earned her M.F.A. in painting at Penn State and her B.A. in visual arts at Brown University. She has exhibited her wall drawings, works on paper and paintings nationally and internationally, including Flashpoint, Washington, D.C.; Vysehrad Gallery, Prague, Czech Republic; Katherine Nash Galleries, University of Minnesota; French Art and Cultural Center, Boston; the Drawing Room, Portland, Maine; Lloyd Dobler Gallery, Chicago; Mixed Greens, New York City; several galleries in Japan, and others.

She has had artists' residencies at Soaring Gardens and the Vermont Studio Center. Her work is in the collection of the D.C. Commission for the Arts and Humanities, and she has been featured twice in New American Paintings. Her last exhibition at Curator’s Office, a collaboration with Kate McGraw, was called “one of the fall’s strongest shows” by The Washington Post.

Image: Seismic Sensing (detail), 2011, ink and gouache on paper, 55" x 38"