Tammy Rae Carland is an artist who works with photography, video and interdisciplinary materials dealing with issues of marginalization, affect, performance and comedy. She has screened and exhibited her work internationally and was recently included in the 12th Istanbul Biennale in Turkey, Seeing Gertrude Stein at the Contemporary Jewish Museum and the Bay Area Now 6 exhibition at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco. In the 1990’s Carland independently produced a series of influential fanzines, including I (heart) Amy Carter and from 1997-2005 co-ran Mr. Lady Records and Videos, an independent record label and video art distribution company dedicated to the production of feminist and queer culture. Tammy Rae Carland received her MFA from UC Irvine, her BA from The Evergreen State College in Olympia Washington and attended the Whitney Independent Study Program in New York City. She lives in Oakland California where she is a Professor at the California College of the Arts and Chairs the Photography Program.
I produce photographs, film/video, sculpture and mixed-media pieces focused on restaging often marginal performances and identities that are rooted in historical and social disappearance. My research includes photographic discourse, biographical narratives, the history of feminist and queer cultural acting up as well as domestic and theatrical performativity. I am particularly invested in utilizing the repetition and reinterpretation that takes place in the theatrical arts as content and its relationship to visual arts in terms of practice and production.
The photographs selected from the series of work I’m Dying Up Here are part of an even larger body of work that consists of photographs, mixed media text pieces, cast ceramic and bronze objects and kinetic sculptures. The work is based in an exploration of female stand-up comedians, particularly focusing on the 1960’s to a current generation of underground performers. I use a theatrical backdrop that points to the artifice of these public personas and the spectacle of performing and acting out. The photographs are entirely choreographed and not based on real performances, though formally they are constructed to sometimes pass as the real thing. By juxtaposing photographs of empty stages littered with the residuals or preparations for an act with images of performers caught mid-act and sculptures of cast stage props, the work mines the fragility, repetition, melancholy and pathos inherent in the isolation of a one-person act. Invariably, I intend to open the conversation onto a larger meditation on the fragmentation of the body, gender representation, abject behavior and the legacy of female performance.