Cadavre Exquis: Works by Lauren A Toomer & Dana Nearburg


On view March 25th - May 8th, 2016. Opening March 25th, 6 - 9 PM.

Open Hours | Sundays: April 24, May 8, 3 - 6 PM
Wednesdays: April 13, 20, May 4, 6 - 9 PM

Cadavre Exquis brings together works by Lauren A Toomer and Dana Nearburg. Laying on the floor, exposed and vulnerable, Toomer’s figures are instantaneously haunting. She so gracefully captures the essence of a person, the ghost of a life, through soft lines and subtle suggestions of form delineated by ethereal color. The intense loneliness and longing emanating from Nearburg’s vulnerable fleshy charcoals are unsettling. In Cadavre Exquis, solemn, solitary figures float in seas and hover over windows into exterior worlds - telling a story of detachment and fragmented existence. For the exhibition, Toomer and Nearburg will create an exquisite corpse - begun by Toomer, mailed to Nearburg, jointly finished. The playful, collaborative manner of the exercise echoes the ethos of SOME.TIME.SALON.

In Reflection, Nearburg’s face reflected in the mirror, creased with the lines of her years is surrounded by anti-aging ointments on the vanity. A supple girl lounges over the scene, obscuring Nearburg’s face and embodying the memory of youthful form. According to Nearburg, “the body ages, but you stay the same inside, your essential self does not age.”

Beginning with intaglio prints as a background, Nearburg superimposes figures from her life drawing class whose poses and attitudes relate to the mood she has in mind for the piece. The nude form enables a raw, emotional storytelling in her work. In Two Women, brief and assured marks delineate cheek bones, the flat line of the ulna, the creasing skin of a side bend. Women stand, sit and lounge atop imagined landscapes, struggling to find a point of contact with the worlds they envision for themselves.

In Toomer’s Fayum Portraits series, John and Jane Does composed of cross-hatching and gestural lines float on manila envelopes. Named after Egyptian portraits buried with the dead, the works honors these individuals, identities lost to history, by capturing their essence in the solitude of death. The delicate drawings of corpses lay the groundwork for Toomer’s study of the body.

Exploring the tissues and minutiae of anatomy, Toomer strayed from traditional portraiture to distill sinews of skin and muscle tone into a vocabulary of reusable marks. Each mark is a lone adjective until woven into complex sentences of graphite. Toomer implies as much content as she transcribes to paper, leaving the viewer to complete the piece. In the Body of Water series, the flex of a foot and curve of a head are barely distinguishable—shattered and fragmented by rippling, frothy water. The title a lightly tongue-in-cheek play on words referring to the submerged form and the womb.

Toomer’s pieces present our ultimate reality, death. Her radiating marks echo the pixelation of screens through which we hide ourselves from genuine engagement. Nearburg’s figures are paralyzed by inaction, awaiting the impetus to break through the glass window to another world. The figures in Cadavre Exquis catalyze us to participate in the shaping of the collective unconscious, to be enthralled and captivated by our surroundings.

Lauren A Toomer received her MFA in Art Practice from Stanford University and BA in Art Practice from UC Berkeley (summa cum laude). Her graduate studies included coursework in anatomy and education. Currently, Toomer instructs art & anatomy courses at Stanford University. Toomer garnered a fellowship from the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive and the Drawing of Excellence Award from UC Berkeley. She has exhibited in the directors offices at SFMOMA, the Worth Ryder Art Gallery, Art on Paper Miami, and the Equal Justice Society exhibition at the University of San Francisco. She has been the guest artist speaker at SFMOMA’s Artists Gallery, the Anderson Collection, and UC Berkeley’s Art Department.

Dana Nearburg attended Smith College, NYU, and received a B.A. from the University of Texas in Plan II and a Masters in Architecture from The University of Texas School of Architecture. She practiced with HOK Dallas and as Dana Nearburg Architects. She has practiced art for over 30 years and has continued her studies in figure drawing and printmaking at Southern Methodist University.