Jane Tardo

Jane Tardo is a sculptor, fiber and mixed media artist born and based in New Orleans. Experimenting with many visual and physical techniques, their practice is surreal, wacky and diverse, incorporating imaginative sculptures, textile art, and technologies in both two-dimensional and three-dimensional works. 

Tardo’s work has been exhibited both locally and nationally. Most recently they had a solo exhibition at the FRONT Gallery in New Orleans. In January 2022, they were awarded 2nd prize for Cat Island Adventure in Surreal Salon 14 at Baton Rouge Gallery. In October 2021, they showcased a mobile interactive performance installation: Haunted Hearse Snake Tube Adventure Ride. Tardo earned their MFA in Sculpture from the University of New Orleans in 2020. They served as a digital resident at Southern Heat Exchange and was a grant recipient of Colloqate Design. Their work has been written about in The Times-Picayune, Antigravity Magazine, The Art Newspaper, Art News, and Pelican Bomb. 

Artist’s Statement 

Jane Tardo’s work is a handmade exploration of alternative approaches to life created through their projects as an inventor, sculptor, and designer. Their work brings ever joyful solutions to daily troubles and creates absurd leisure activities to prompt reflection on the seams of reality and fantasy. Dream-like and unrestrained, Tardo captures a fantasy world inspired by the perplexity of meaning and the ludicrousness of reality.

The utopic Adventure Cattery Quilt Show is a series of textile tapestries. Using applique, collage, and quilting techniques, this work centers around hope, companionship, the love of cats and nature. They are the ultimate, flowery, surreal fantasy escapist relationships with the people we want to be, the places we want to go, the days that aren’t too hot or too cold, where flowers are always in bloom, and there are no biting bugs. 

Boutique is a collection of soft inventions prioritizing research and process. Tardo’s interactive, sculptural pieces analyze how trends, modern marketing, social media, and algorithms manipulate a perspective to the benefit of controlling the masses. In intricate sewn and machine embroidered packages, control is reclaimed with hands-on, persuasive communication and fool-proof branding techniques. Mimicking the promotional language, graphic style and overt optimism of modern marketing, the objects tune into what we are conditioned to want: products to help with intimacy, beauty, and control.

2 Minutes to Midnight (2019-2020) and 100 Seconds to Midnight (2020-present) is a series of sewn clocks constructed using a freestanding lace technique. They reference the Dooms Day Clock which was set to 2 minutes to midnight at the time this was started. The DDC has since been moved to 100 seconds to midnight. They represent not only the concept of the Dooms Day Clock but also waking up each day and seeing the same time, the same bad news, the same impending doom. Of going through daily tasks, work, caring for others, all while knowing that environmental collapse and the suffering of millions will, without a doubt, be witnessed in my lifetime. Indeed, here in Louisiana and in other low laying delta communities… it is already happening. 

Snake Tube Adventure Racing is the world’s first quilted analog-virtual reality radio controlled-Tube Car racetrack. The quilted dioramic installation, check-in booth, self-guided tour pamphlet, and giftshop represent and depict the reality forecasted for life on our compromised planet. The work utilizes blended technology including robotics and digital projection, paired with sewn landscapes and soft sculpture. The game-like experience seeks to prompt deeper consideration of the condition of disconnection and manipulation experienced within a society overseen by persuasive marketing and green-washing by mega-corporations. Designed to be an interactive spectacle, the work is an absurd reflection on the frivolity of contemporary living, competitive distraction, and joyful disassociation during ecological collapse. 

Participants are invited to choose their own snake and pilot it through 24ft of climate collapsed, dystopian, apocalyptic landscapes. With up to four players for each race, players may attach their cell phone to the Tube Car to record or livestream the experience for their fans. In this dissociated climate-apocalypse competition, Snake Tube Adventure Racing explores obsessions with documentation, influence, and control using the lens of cell phones, humor, and playful indulgence.

Snake Tube Adventure Racing’s offshoot installation Haunted Hearse Snake Tube Adventure Ride uses similar themes, theories, and tech to create the world’s first haunted ride for cellphones inside a ’92 Cadillac Hearse. Guests of the Haunted Hearse are invited to send their cell phones through a 35ft immersive, 2-story, loop de loop haunted textile art rollercoaster ride. Riders may make a video, livestream, or facetime their unique experience. Haunted Hearse Snake Tube Adventure Ride is expected to haunt the streets of the Gulf South in October 2022 once again. 

Snake Tube Adventure Racing Experience Montage

Haunted Hearse Snake Tube Adventure Ride