A solo exhibition by Tekla Tamoria
Paper Pyramid Puzzle Pieces
It took four years to create two paper gowns.
Ma. Althea “Tekla” Tamoria’s “Baby Girl X” are finally ready to be shown outside the artist’s studio. From the long journey from her Studio Arts degree to several years in the advertising industry, then to her post-university Garments training, several group shows and her Colony being the recent Art in the Park’s must-see installation, the artist’s painstaking attention to detail, penchant for bright colors and incessant folding has finally reached fruition.
“Baby Girl X” presents the artist’s literal handiwork, with each crease on her pyramids, hexagons and triangles smoothed and flattened by her own fingers – while waiting for meetings, riding in jeeps, binge-watching TV shows and basically hanging out. Her hands are so used to the exercise, she often finds herself on autopilot. Folding paper has become second nature, meditative and soothing, a way to contain pent-up energy and evolving notions. By combining Tamoria’s multihued modular fragments, she creates floor-length dresses of spikes that defy paper’s characteristic stiffness. While respecting the inherent qualities of her material to hold its shape, she raises it towards extraordinary levels with her laborious effort, creating something not only wearable, but boasts of graceful drapes and sensual cutouts.
Meticulously engineered and put together, Tamoria’s “Baby Girl X” are worthy of representation in both art catalogues and fashion magazines. As such, photographs of the dresses are exhibited both as documentation and pages off a fashion portfolio. Her wall bound works, however, are pattern-filled rarities on their own, with interlocking pieces simulating puzzles. Rainbow colors are combined much like pixels in a photograph, Tamoria taking advantage of paper’s smooth and flat surface and transforming the material into three-dimensional hexagonal forms. The artist collects various types of paper and sorts them systematically, so she knows exactly what to set off against which. She also set aside something special, her favorite shade of red, for one of her favorite pieces.
The artist’s obsessiveness and pursuit for perfection is palpable in each artwork, her seriousness for the craft showing through the spirited play on colors and repetition of shapes. Pattern-making has emerged as one of her strengths, with her works grounded on intelligent design. The time and labor spent on each piece are visually evident, proving discipline to be the backbone of Tamoria’s art. In her hands, the manufactured medium is breathed soul, the artist’s passion giving personality to the inanimate. Her configurations may be calculated and premeditated, but it is her undeniable energy, dexterity, playfulness and problem-solving that not only permeate, but polish her pieces with artistic flair.
Words by Kaye O’Yek