Tanya Batura: The beauty of the absurd and macabre

The work of Los Angeles artist Tanya Batura is based on contrasts and challenges the viewer’s way of seeing and the preconceived ideas of beauty. In front of her arresting sculptures, we find that there is elegance in gestures which may be perceived as grotesque, comfort in what may feel unsettling, calmness in approaching mortality, gracefulness in deformity. Creation seems to be the prelude to destruction – the face carries wounds and cuts, traces of suffering that apparently leave the subjects undisturbed, as if absent or even pleasurable. 

The flawless skin, the empty gaze and the whiteness remind of traditional sculpture, while also disturbing through the illusion of perfection and an almost clinical, artificial cleanness of the body. The figures give the impression of being caught in a trance, sometimes with an erotic charge, highlighted through elements such as the red mouths and the provocative tongues. The works evoke a dark sensuality which becomes alluring, although repulsive initially.

The distortions reveal the artist’s predisposition toward the absurd, but also her interest in medical abnormalities. Even the fact that these human characters lack a body may indicate an amputation which is perhaps of spiritual or psychological nature as well. What is visible at the surface – the scars, the bandage, the blindfold – suggests the intense inner experiences, and brings into discussion aspects related to the human psyche, to our subconscious desires and fears.

Tanya Batura’s work is on view through October 1st, 2016, at Hap Gallery in Portland, part of the solo show In the Eye of the Beholder.

Tanya Batura - Untitled, 2016

Untitled, 2016

Tanya Batura - Untitled, 2016

Untitled, 2016

Tanya Batura - Untitled, 2015

Untitled, 2015

Tanya Batura - Untitled, 2015

Untitled, 2015

Tanya Batura - Untitled, 2015

Untitled, 2015

Tanya Batura - Monochroma H, 2008

Monochroma H, 2008

Tanya Batura - Monochroma A, 2008

Monochroma A, 2008

Tanya Batura - Monochroma G, 2008

Monochroma G, 2008

Tanya Batura - Vestibule, 2006

Vestibule, 2006

Tanya Batura - Lovers, 2005

Lovers, 2005

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All images © Tanya Batura

View more on her website, on Facebook and Instagram.