Here and Now
Here and Now is an exploded neon installation created by Tavares Strachan, exhibited at the Frye Art Museum. In this three-part neon piece, Strachan leaves the subject of identity—created through ongoing interplays of presence and absence—purposefully open. Simulating stop-action photographs of giant blasts, this work’s assertive yet detonated statements of belonging are both advanced and refuted. The sculpture thus effects ongoing shifts questioning identity, making each of its components highly ironic, since the self, the act of belonging, and one’s locale are all being exploded at the same time they are being affirmed through the still partially legible words comprising this work. The variances operative in this work suggest a connection with Russian theorist Roman Jakobson’s analysis of certain types of signs—such as the personal pronouns “I,” ”you,” and “we”—called shifters, which are dependent on specific contexts for meaning. Because shifters are perpetually open to actual situations, the “I,” “you,” and “we” in Strachan’s work can refer to the artist as well as his viewers, setting up contrapuntal ways of approaching and understanding them.
Neon gas, black paint