Tara Austin “Stemline”, oil, acrylic and gold leaf on plexiglass, 48″ x 48″, 2018


The Origin of Ornament

Austin was studying ancient jewelry while making Stemline, and it shows. If ornamentation had an original form, it would likely resemble this piece. Although accessibly kaleidoscopic, it also betrays a self-similarity (familiar throughout Austin’s work) where details are discreetly representative of the whole, and vice versa.

Furthermore, the ornaments themselves have rosemaling details that alternate between unifying and distinctive. The result is an intriguing multidimensional botany. Sometimes they are fully symmetrical, and sometimes they veer off into their own expression of color and stroke.

Structure is another matter entirely.

Displaying lines both rigid and oblique, Stemline in many ways looks like a complex diatom. In fact, many of Austin’s works share some of the same appeal as arrangements from 19th Century Victorian diatom parties. In a way, this is fitting, as it can be argued this is nature’s jewelry. And Austin has captured it here for us, in all its splendor and mystery.

An essence of natural ornamentation. The source of ornament.

Interested? Call 218-418-7750

Call 218-418-7750

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Stemline uses rosemaling motifs, mixed with geometrically exact back and foregrounds.

  • About Tara Austin

    Tara Austin is a Duluth artist whose vast body of work is a testament to nature and reality. Her rich landscapes are of chaos, complexity, and order. They hold as much inherent beauty as a satellite image of a hurricane, a sunflowers' petals, or an assemblage of diatoms under a microscope.
  • The Exhibition Overview

    Boreal Ornament III
  • Launch Interactive