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Tamra Seal

Oakland, CA , U.S.A.
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Phone: 510-207-5456

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I work in sculpture, installation, photography and video to interpret California culture. The work builds on the historical Minimalism and California Light & Space movements by adding to them elements of California pop-culture, architecture, geology and iconic cinema imagery. I use fluorescent materials in conjunction with natural and artificial light to project and extend the work’s form into the viewer’s space. The physical and projected elements of the work become metaphorical characters whose relationships with each other dramatize my California narrative.

Cinema and the Hollywood film industry influence my work. The classic sci-fi film genre— films such as 2001: A Space Odyssey—inspire my use of colorful light-emitting materials. I use cinema as a research tool from which to realize three-dimensional archetypal forms, employing Technicolor-like saturated hues to produce heightened experiences of form and space. The materials often contain inherent light: the edges of acrylic plastic, dichroic glass, and optical calcite that create colored projections that extend the work into space beyond its material boundaries. The perceptions of my sculpture and installations evolve as the natural light changes their colors throughout the day and as the viewer moves around the work. This time-based element of the work derives from cinema. I am interested in the play between three-dimensional and two-dimensional perceptions of the same thing. For example, my photograph Bending Rectangular Light does not merely document my installation; it is an entirely new “photographic object” that reveals two- dimensional spatial relationships of the installation that would be overlooked when viewed in three dimensions. I am curious about what the color of the future could be, how various optical perceptions affect emotional response, and how color plays a role in a science-fiction utopian gaze. My work thus operates on multi-levels: The phenomenological experience of form and changing light overlayed with the drama of the narrative.

Science-fiction has taken my art into the exploration of conceptual science fact, the string theory of theoretical physics, and our evolving understanding of the nature of reality. The vibrating colors of the flat two-dimensional circles on the cylinder ends of Future Color suggest the vibrating loops of subatomic “strings” projected through the higher dimensions of a Calabi-Yau manifold as well as the recently discovered mysteriously aligned radio wave spins that are emanating from the supermassive black holes in otherwise unrelated galaxies located in the ELAIS-N1 field of deep space. Yet my work is easily understood by children as well as adults as its iconic fundamental shapes and wondrous prismatic colors are readily read by all.