The act of storytelling is as time-honored as it is quotidian; whether a singular experience or with an audience, we revel in a good story for its transformative power and the chance to suspend disbelief. Before the emergence of written language, stories were shared orally and visually in every society as modes to entertain, educate and instill morals as well as to preserve culture and tradition. It is precisely these stories that withstand the test of time–the harrowing legends of adventure, exploration and discovery, the triumph of good over evil, the tales of romance, mythical creatures and buried treasure–that we have come to cherish and pass down through generations. Each one is a seemingly infinite game of telephone obscured by time and narrator, and eventually re-interpreted to become our own.
This selection of lithographs from the archives of Tamarind Institute, guest-curated by Claude Smith, encapsulates the power of storytelling through art to convey shared experiences. Infinite Histories positions the artist as storyteller and documentarian of the otherwise inexplicable or peculiar, the imaginative and sometimes, even, the banal. Through the examination of the often-intersecting constellation of historical record, myth, folklore and the absurd, these artists investigate and reference psychological narratives, allusions to role-playing, familiar and cultural dynamics and the language of science. These compelling works offer not only an intriguing look into an individual artist’s approach with respect to lithography, but represent just a handful of the countless (hi)stories compiled and recorded by Tamarind over its influential 50-plus years of existence.
Featured artists include: Sidney Amaral, Eric Avery, Barton Benĕs, Amy Cutler, Luke Dorman, Harrell Fletcher, Walton Ford, Roy De Forest, Nicola López, Christine Nguyen, Sean Mellyn and Ethan Murrow.
Claude Smith is a graduate of the University of New Mexico and holds dual undergraduate degrees in both art history and biology. He is currently the Education & Exhibitions Manager at 516 ARTS and Curator at the Inpost Artspace. He is also a frequent contributor to New American Paintings online.