Tavares Strachan is a 2022 MacArthur Genius Grant Fellow.
Tavares Strachan, 42, is an artist whose extensively researched work combines scientific, historical, and aesthetic research in projects that demonstrate the power of human ingenuity. Weaving media and disciplines. This year’s John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Honorary Fellowship, known as the “Genius Grant,” honors those whose work provides inspiration and insight, who bend discipline and change society.
The Chicago-based foundation announced Wednesday that it has increased the “unconditional” prize money each person receives from $625,000 to $800,000 over a five-year period.
Exploration, both literally and thematically, is an integral part of Strachan’s practice. He traveled to the North Pole for his early breakout work, The Distance Between What We Have and What We Want (2005-2006). So he took out his 4.5-ton block of ice and shipped it to the Bahamas via FedEx. The block, a solar-powered refrigerated case created in consultation with scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was displayed on the site of a former elementary school in Strachan. The work speaks to the idea of duality and the relationship between identity and migration in relation to vast distances, climates and geographic environments.
In a series of subsequent studies, Strachan explored the phenomenon of orthostatic tolerance, the body’s ability to withstand gravitational stress. His research included deep sea exploration and cosmonaut training at the Yuri Gagarin Research and Test Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, Russia. One of his achievements is ‘Invisible Diver’ (2010). This is a hand-blown glass scale model of the human circulatory system. The model is submerged in a glass case filled with mineral oil, which has the same refractive index as glass, so the complex anatomy is only visible from certain viewing angles and disappears from other angles. The research led Strachan to found his BASEC (Bahamas Aerospace and Ocean Exploration Center). This is an initiative that brings visiting scientists to New He Providence and provides educational opportunities for young residents.
The theme of visibility and invisibility runs through Strachan’s practice, as manifested in his efforts to lift the contributions of marginalized historical figures who have been left out of the official record. His Encyclopedia of Invisibility (2018) documents the work and achievements of thousands of these individuals across a wide range of disciplines.
Strachan uses the “encyclopedia” as a starting point for his work in other media. For his 2018 exhibition, he installed neon signs with personal names from his “encyclopedia” on the exterior frieze of the Carnegie Museum of Art.
Alongside the names of great historical figures already inscribed in stone, new neon names such as Matthew Henson, the first black polar explorer, and rapper Tupac Shakur are elevated to the level of Benjamin Franklin and Beethoven. It is Strachan creates works that inspire curiosity and push the boundaries of what is possible in art through a rare combination of historical and scientific investigations visualized through artistic practices that span media.
Strachan is a multidisciplinary conceptual artist who has accomplished logistical feats while elevating the history of marginalized artists and leaders of the past.
Strachan holds a BFA (2003) from the Rhode Island School of Design and an MFA (2006) from Yale University. His work has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions at various venues nationally and internationally, including Seattle’s Frye Museum of Art. Baltimore Museum of Art; Prospect.3, New Orleans. Venice Biennale; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and Philadelphia Museum of Contemporary Art.
https://thenassauguardian.com/tavares-strachan-is-a-2022-macarthur-genius-grant-fellow/ Tavares Strachan is a 2022 MacArthur Genius Grant Fellow.