Today, I had the honor of helping my friend and artist extraordinaire, Tamara English, install her exhibition “The Universal Book Of Hours.”
The show is comprised of thirteen oil paintings depicting the schedule of daily contemplations from Medieval books of hours and the schedule of prayer that is one of the tenets of Islam. This series incorporates the visual vocabulary from sacred sites and texts from different cultures and belief systems, exploring how these elements interact with each other. The paintings become explorations of what is sacred to each of us as individuals, beyond religion and ask how the viewer engages with his or her own understanding of Spirit.
Tamara says that “The idea for this piece began as I was looking at the decorative elements of different belief systems. In particular I noticed how different belief systems depict the rhythm and movement of the unseen in the world. I found similar shapes in the tile-work that decorates the walls of The Blue Mosque in Istanbul and in the borders of 15th century French illuminated manuscripts. I became curious about uniting these different visual vocabularies in the context of the narrative of a twenty- four hour period. The Universal Book Of Hours is the result of this exploration. This piece also reminds me a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson. He said “Make your own bible.” The project is, in a sense, my response to these words.”
It was fun to work together installing her show. I got a private peek into Tamara’s vision for how she wanted her pieces to be displayed and help collaborate on the best way to hang the work. It was a wonderful way to spend a morning…hanging art with a good friend. Thanks, Tamara!
I hope you’ll take time to visit the exhibition:
Tamara English: The Universal Book Of Hours
December 1st – 20th, North Portland Library Branch
You are invited to the Opening Reception with comments by the artist: Tuesday, December 7th from 5:30 – 7:30 PM.
Tamara’s exhibition is made possible by a grant she received from The Regional Arts & Culture Council. Congratulations!