Tamara Gonzales

Lace Paintings

Spray painting through lace tablecloths, doilies, and curtain, allows me to utilize the patterns like different brushes and take advantage of the paint properties to maintain an economy of surface. Especially important to me is that inherent in different lace patterns are many of my prime interests; Baroque churches; rose windows; altars; window decoration; domesticity; veiling; and craft. Along with an intensity of color and pattern I favor the ambiguous moments that occur when the patterning begins to blur. I find that I am often painting blind and it is not until I lift the lace up from the canvas that I can see my drawing. This makes the painting act very physical and whole bodied. Unlike a silkscreen or stencil the lace quickly degrades limiting the times I can use a pattern. This inevitably creates a sense of loss and of preciousness.


In my work popular culture marries mythology. Much of my early painting and installation work came directly out of ceremonial ritual: puja; ancestor worship; Wicca; and Catholicism, all of which I was or am personally involved in. Today I am equally influenced by contemporary Western art and the studio as a place where my art making is a private behavior performed with the intent to engage a larger social environment.

However unrestrained the actions in my painting may appear the foundation is an intuitive and focused application of paint to canvas. Utilizing expressive gestures, or the more painterly techniques, along with stencils, images, and text, I arrive at the moment in each painting I call done. I favor mixed media and collage because it allows me the ability to take advantage of the chance encounter of different materials in the studio along with the flexibility to address current world events.

Recently I have been spray painting through lace. This has allowed me to make paintings with an economy of surface that still contains my favorite things; Baroque churches; rose windows; altars; pattern; decoration; excess and gaudiness.


Gonzales’ influences derive from time spent in Mexico, which she visits during Day of the Dead festivities and India. “I remembered that widows wear white in Varanasi” she writes. Evidence also points to her Hispanic American identity, her Buddhism and a decorative impulse derived from the Christmas decorations found around Williamsburg, Brooklyn and the rural Catskills. Gonzales’ use of cheap novelty merchandise lends irony to the mythic aspect as it points out that this stuff makes up our common global language. The landscape of the populated world is one part Fourteenth Street and one part dirt road—Joe Fyfe

Psychic Energy Boutique

This is not just a piece of paper. This is an important message to those who are seeking help. Stop feeling sorry for yourself and your loved ones. Seek help now. Let art heal your troubled mind whether it's drug addiction, problems sleeping, work related problems, etc. Don't put off till tomorrow when you can receive help today. If it is advice you are seeking, art could put you back on the right path. No problems are too big or too small. People have been making art for centuries. Often, without any purchase at all, art can reveal your past as it was and your future as it will be.

Statement for SEED

These paintings started with a large blue dot. Later smaller dots began to appear around the circumference of the large dot. They multiplied. The large dots grew scales or petals. At various times they became planets, suns, amoebas, flowers, snakeskin, and even eggs—sunnyside up. On white grounds they floated. White like bleached bones. They asked for eyes. I added pupils. We looked at each other. It was summer and I gardened. Everything seemed very alive. What if plants could speak?  While war was being waged I sat dotting paintings, all those souls, dot… dot… dot... This work seemed so pretty and so white—then I remembered that widows wear white in Varanasi. The dots began to have wings. One looked to be flying above a pool of metal. Two comforted each other. One reminded me of a poster I saw often as a child. It read “War is not healthy for children and other living things”. One night in August I caught Donovan at Joe’s Pub. I left remembering that plants can talk. In America would people really rather die free? It was looking more and more like they would rather die full. I started seeing faces in the large dots. I painted them in and then painted them out.

Seeds are potential. They are plants ready to leave home. They are journeyers from a dying flower, fruit, or pod. They are ready to be dispersed, laid in soil, given warmth. They carry the genetic make up of their parent, like an egg. I considered calling this show Spawn. Is it possible some fastidious fish might carefully arrange his or her eggs in a circular pattern for aesthetic reasons?

The whole group really started because of Joan Miró. I remembered seeing a painting in Madrid with a large blue circle in it. It was one of my favorites. Later I poured blue enamel paint onto a canvas and watched it spread out slowly forming a wonky circle. When I began writing this statement I went to find the name of the painting I had seen. I searched through three books on Miró. It wasn’t there. The Blue paintings, which I was sure the work had come from, were in fact blue but had red and black circles on them. The Smile of the Star to the Twin Tree of the Plain did yield a blue spot but a gauzy one. Could that be it? No, I knew I had never seen it and besides it was in Paris not Madrid. I considered quoting it anyway just so I wouldn’t have to admit to myself that I was wrong about Miró’s blue spot painting but felt it would be cheating. It is a funny moment when you realize how thoroughly your mind can conjure. I would have bet money on finding that piece of art. Still, to me, the whole group of work started with a blue circle painting that Joan Miró made—2004

Statement for A Few of My Favorite Things

1.Thoughts about rainbows in no particular order:

are what people look like to angels
were used extensively in the sixties
the grateful dead album with a big boot on it
a festival I never made it to
the color of our chakras
astral vision
the beginning of philosophy
good luck
roads to pots of gold
no more floods

2. About the Installation
It was 1975 and I was staying at a Hare Krishna temple-I had nowhere permanent to live and the only rules were that you had to be in by 9pm and up at 3am for the morning puja ceremony. As long as I didn't have to solicit at any airports, or be out on the streets chanting, I was ok with the program. (They also had great vegetarian food.)  At 3am bells were rung and we would all go down to the temple for a 3 hour elaborate ceremony. Drumming, singing, bells, oil lamps, and loads of flowers were used to wake up the deities. There were three sections with different idols of Krishna and I always stood in front of Jagannath—a simple wood carved idol with a black smiley face and large exotic eyes. I stayed a month before moving on.

Jagannath is the black-faced  Krishna popular in  Orissa India. Every summer in Puri there is a celebration called the "Festival of the Chariots." Huge carts, some as high as 40 feet, are pulled through the streets with carvings of Jagannath and his brother and sister riding in them. In the past, believing that one could be freed from suffering cyclical existence, a person might fling themselves in front of the cart to be crushed.