Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Artist solitude

Preview of Tapley’s “Homebody” exhibit. Photos courtesy of Saralene Tapley

Mantle Art Space presents first artist talk with Saralene Tapley.


Art is subject to interpretation by the viewer, and while each interpretation is unique, the origin, purpose or meaning the artist intended to portray can become lost in the mix.

While some art enthusiasts choose to look deep into the meaning of works, many viewers just interpret what they see and move on. The background behind a work of art can be fascinating and expose a new dimension that one may not have noticed at first glance.

Owners and curators of Mantle Art Space, Sarah Lawrence and Sara Corley Martinez, allow this threshold to be broken by presenting Saralene Tapley’s artist statement for “Homebody” on Jan. 13 sponsored by The Foundation for Contemporary Art.

Having worked with Saralene Tapley last year with her collection of self portraits “Ordinary Things,” Lawrence and Corley Martinez have since been fans of her work. Because they are familiar with her work, they thought she would serve as the perfect candidate for their first artist talk.

Tapley created the large paintings that make up her collection “Homebody” based on her time living in New York while studying at the New York Academy of Art. During her time at the academy, as said in her statement about “Homebody,” she “discovered a profound love for painting from life. Different from painting from photographs, painting from life exposes an emotion or struggle between the artist and three dimensional subject.”

Tapley lived in the New York area for three years and took inspiration from a relationship she had while there. Tapley said “the relationship failed romantically, but many of the paintings are rooted in a strong friendship, his love of laying around the apartment, and my love to paint him.”

She spent about 10 hours each painting session working from the natural light provided from her apartment, making each painting unique by the day it was painted on.

While many paintings in her collection feature the male and female forms, “the figureless still lives became part of this body of work when I had no one to paint and felt that my single room flat also told the story of my life in NYC,” said Tapley.










Each painting within this collection might be viewed as having a deep rooted personal element of Tapley, but she clarifies in her statement that her work is “rooted in aesthetic and formal decisions.” The title of her collection “Homebody” relates to the content of the paintings and the figurative meaning that Tapley spent many hours alone at home creating these works. Tapley said “the solitude and meditative aspect of working in this way is something I quite enjoy.

I am both recreating and processing my world.” The title  “Homebody” also refers beyond the artist’s personal experience to the fact that in today’s world it is possible to do everything from your own home without need for outside socialization.

The Japanese call this lifestyle “Hikikomori” which means to pull inward or to be confined.

Many who participate in this reclusive lifestyle have come to be known as “post modern hermits,” as they have a desire to withdraw from society.

Tapley said she “makes reference to this group of people, as I feel artists have much in common with this lifestyle.”

The collection celebrates daily life and the little things one might not take time and appreciate throughout their day.

With each of Tapley’s paintings we can be reminded to reflect on the moments that are least noticed but should be some of the most appreciated.

On Saturday Jan. 13 at Mantle Art Space from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m., take the opportunity to attend an artist Q&A to learn beyond what you initially perceive in a work of art.

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