I maintain a process based artistic practice. Over the past five years, I have specifically focused on rafoo (darning or re-weaving) and paper inlay. After being awarded the Fullbright-Nehru, I traveled to India to research the intersection of craft and fine art. During that time, I worked with the late artist Priya Ravish Mehra and master rafoogars (professional darners.) As a result, I incorporating traditional darning techniques into my own pieces. This is how my Altered series came to be, a collection of architectural shapes on found textiles. Most recently the series was featured at The Sundaram Tagore Gallery in Chelsea, New York as a part of the exhibit Alterations Activation Abstraction curated by Betty Seid.
Previously, I was in residence at McDowell Artists Colony, Haystack Mountain School of Craft and The Ragdale Foundation. I have also been honored to be an Affiliate at Headlands Center for the Arts and received an Individual Artist Grant from the Marin Arts Council. In addition to my art, I have a passion for teaching. My appointments include a position at the California State University of Sacramento in California; the Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Virginia; and at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Contemporary Practices Department. The latter is my alma mater, where I received a BFA in 1992 and went on to receive an MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art. I have exhibited my artwork in the US and abroad. I live between Chandigarh, India, and Chicago, Illinois. In Chicago, I currently maintain a studio at the Hyde Park Art Center.
All of us are in a constant state of adjusting, adapting, and remaking ourselves. We do so in order to live with others and adapt to a rapidly changing world. Every adaptation is woven into ourselves, changing us in the process. These adjustments become part of who we are, a revised self. Yet not all adaptations are seamless. Often, they leave an imprint we carry with us. In my work, I seek to visually articulate these imprints, born out of adjusting, adapting and remaking ourselves. Using darning, embedding thread or paper inlay, I bring together two different surfaces. Each piece is my attempt to fill a hole or gap in the original material. In doing so, two pieces are joined together to make a unified surface. These two pieces then become dependent on one another.
Much of my work is inspired by my experience of living between cultures. I often choose to darn and inlay holes with the shape of a home or building. I am fascinated by additions and adjustments to homes. These are spaces created after the home was constructed to meet the evolving needs of its inhabitants. I seek out these spaces documenting them through photography and drawing and then extract from these images as I develop my work.
-Tanya Hastings Gill, 2019