BIOGRAPHY

 

Tamara Ann Burgh Photo

Moving alternately between Colorado and Illinois as a child, Tamara (Inupiat/Kawerak, Swede) jokes she was raised on Interstate 80. As an
adult she has lived in Alaska, Australia, Wisconsin and the Chicago area. Tamara also spent several years in New Mexico in a community of other artists. She exhibited her work locally, including a two-woman installation entitled My Life as a Dress; inspired by animistic tribal peoples who seemingly dress to reflect their beliefs. Tamara created dresses to reveal what she believed about herself and/or her world view. After more than a decade in NW Arkansas caring for her elderly mother, Tamara is back in New Mexico with a studio in Santa Fe.


Tamara's regionalist drawings are part of permanent collections at the college and public library in Nome, Alaska and University of Alaska, Juneau. While in New Mexico she worked two years on a project conducted by an internationally recognized artist.


Just as important to her art is the library Tamara has established. Books by Joseph Campbell, Gary Zukav, J. Krishnamurti, Carolyn Myss and other metaphysical writers have been strong influences.


Tamara recently finished Nature Consciousness, a series (20) of oil paints using three motifs (cloud, hill and trees) to explore the kinetic and possible conscious relationships between elements of nature. Her self-portrait watercolors are a series of eight in which she represents a mythological working out of self image through personal, faith related and familial experiences and challenges.


While she appreciates modern technique, Tamara cannot ignore the tactile appeal of material from nature. The combination of the two in some of her work perhaps reflects the two worlds she inhabits: that formed by a suburban upbringing and that influenced by her Eskimo heritage. This dichotomy reveals itself in an important body of mixed media pieces entitled THE ENCULTURATED WHITE MAN: If early Americans Had Embraced the Nobel Savage Rather Than Try to Destroy Them. A project just completed in 2014 and some 15 years in the making.


Tamara has found basketry to be a medium in which she can integrate natural materials such as gourds, pine needles, fibers, spruce pitch and beeswax into a form that explores and expresses her Native heritage and archetypal and personal myths.


Tamara graduated with a studio art degree from Illinois State University which she attended on a talent scholarship. By chance she entered the publishing field as a graphic artist and illustrator in Chicago. This led to a studio business designing product and contract sculpting for the giftware industry with clients across the country. Tamara produced and marketed a line of Christmas ornaments and a set of seven polychrome Eskimo figurines.


"Most of what I have learned is through experience—my experiences are processed through a library of books—my processes are reinterpreted through art".

 

Photo by John Well-Off-Man

 

 

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