In Tamara Muller’s work, she uses her own face to tell a story that is not just about her. They are not self-portraits in the fundamental sense of the word. She plays a role, but it is complex. It shoots back and forth between combinations of man, woman, adult, child, human, animal, perpetrator and victim. By leaving parts of the canvas unfinished with simple brush strokes, the focus is mainly on the characters who almost always look at the viewer . The work is not finished until someone looks at it and becomes aware of his own thoughts. Muller doesn’t want to tell a straight story. No unambiguity, but an interaction between apparent contradictions; the personal and the universal, reality and fiction, realism and abstraction. Ambivalent in both form and content, the image and canvas have been manipulated to make the viewer co-actor in this painted ‘paste and cut’ theater about power, guilt and shame.
‘Because part of me is already in it, I can take a distance from that story.’ Choosing from a stock of previously made selfies with different facial expressions, she pastes her own head on clippings from magazines. Then, using these collages as a basis, Tamara immediately sets up several paintings at once: ‘By working in a series, it isn’t necessary to put everything in a single painting.’ The paintings each stand on their own, but together they also tell a story in which the borderline between good and bad becomes blurred. ‘It’s a game between the viewer and the artist, in which the character’s role keeps alternating between woman, child, animal, victim and perpetrator. It’s not all that black-and-white.’
Her personal life is often the starting point for her work. ‘I am interested in human behaviour – including my own, in relation to the other. Powerlessness and guilt. I see it in newspapers, books, films, and I recognize it in the people around me. I use all of that in my work,’ says Tamara. ‘But it has to feel real, come from me. Only then is it true.’ In her investigation of this theme, distraction has also played a role for herself as an artist. ‘I allow myself little detours, for instance by making a painting within a painting or looking for pictures of fine wallpaper.’ This has resulted in fuller work than previously. But one constant remains: her own face.
• Recent exhibitions at Galerie Bart: Bear With me 2023 • Connection 2022 • KunstRAI 2020, Distraction 2018, PAN 2018.
Artist Tamara Muller, born in 1975 in Wehe – den Hoorn, currently lives and works in Breda. Tamara completed her Bachelor of Fine Arts at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague in 1997. After having exhibited for a number of years, in 2007 Tamara extended her education by obtaining a Master’s degree in Fine Arts at AKV|St. Joost in ‘s Hertogenbosch.
Internationally Tamara has been exhibited in solo and in groups, in Europe among others at Galeria Esther Montoriol in Barcelona SP, Edsvik Konsthall in Stockholm SE, the München based Størpunkt, Art Karlsruhe and Galerie am Dom Frankfurt in Germany and Galerie VCR Antwerpen in Belgium. Furthermore she has shown her work at ARTeryMIAMI and The National Arts Club New York in the USA, and at Nara Heijo in Kyo Capital and Ginza Art & Concept Laboratory in Tokio, Japan.
In the Netherlands, institutions that have shown Tamara’s work include Drents Museum Assen, the Gasunie in Groningen, Museum De Buitenplaats in Eelde, and the Museum voor Moderne Kunst in Arnhem. The collaboration between Galerie Bart and Tamara dates back to 2010 and has resulted in multiple exhibitions at both the galleries in Amsterdam and Nijmegen and multiple fair participations at PAN Amsterdam, Preview Berlin DE, Realisme Amsterdam, and RAW Art Fair in Rotterdam. Her paintings are part of the collections of Museum De Buitenplaats, Drents Museum, Collection Gasunie, Groningen, Miniature Museum, Stichting Kunstvijver Nijmegen and various private collectors.
29.08 Dagblad van het Noorden Een fascinerend onderzoek by Eric Bos.
04.06 Dagblad van het Noorden Speels ongemak by Joep van Ruiten.
06.11 Het Parool Expo: Tamara Muller The Waiting by Edo Dijksterhuis.
September Dagblad van het Noorden Tamara Muller ‘Back to the Roots’ by Illand Pietersma.
10.09 VBCN Persona: schilderijen en werk op papier van Tamara Muller, editorial.
15.05 Breda Nu K.I.K.: Tamara Muller, tv interview by Kees van Meel.
18.12 MIRADOR de les arts DelicARTessen or the Diversity of Non-Institutional Art, review by Juan Bufill.
Pandora magazine #4 Over schuld, schaamte en macht – Interview met Tamara Muller by Lizan van Dijk and Ruud Vermeer.
07.04 John Dalton Tamara Muller Looking below the surface, podcast interview of 81 minutes – EP85.
24.04 Kunstenaar Magazine nr.31 Interview Tamara Muller by Hein Dik.
20.08 Elegance Schilderes Tamara Muller, editorial.
01.07 Kunstkrant Double Faced, Tamara Muller doorbreekt vierde wand by Justine le Clercq.
10.07 De Limburger Het dubbele ‘dubbele gezicht’ by Ron Buitenhuis.
June: ECI Cultuurfabriek Bijsluiter 1/Bijsluiter 2 by Renate Dorrestein.