Tamara Henderson was born in 1982 in Sackville, Canada. She graduated from NSCAD University in Halifax and Städelschule in Frankfurt before completing a Masters degree at the Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm. Henderson currently lives and works in London.
She has exhibited at Glasgow International and Documenta 13, and recently staged a performance for the Serpentine Gallery’s 2017 Park Nights series. A selection of solo and group exhibitions include Virginia Woolf: An Exhibition Inspired By Her Writings, Tate St Ives, Cornwall; Art Night, London; Seasons End: More Than Suitcases, Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin (2018), Oakville Galleries; Rodeo Gallery, London (2017); REDCAT, Los Angeles; Moderna Museet, Stockholm (2016); ICA, Philadelphia (2015); and Andrew Kreps Gallery, New York (2014).
Tamara Henderson’s body of work draws on a diverse range of mediums including painting, sculpture, textiles, furniture and 16mm films. Henderson employs an idiosyncratic heady colour palette, reminiscent of a sun-soaked photograph from the 1970’s, or a partially remembered, non-verbal and non-linear dream.
Playing with misplaced memories, ideas of transformation, decay and ritual, Henderson’s works are often directly inspired from hypnotherapy sessions, which she uses as material to sculpt experience and create works that access deeper levels of consciousness. Working to objectify these experiences, her sculptural, anthropomorphic works intend to operate as communication vessels between alternate positions of conscious and unconscious states.
In Henderson’s films, objects, landscapes and colours, rather than people, often play the role of the protagonist. Using early cinema techniques she recombines and reactivates previously used objects to lively and humorous effect. Rolls of drawing become canvases, canvases become clothing, paintings become curtains. As materials diversify and obscure meaning, Henderson creates a sense of psychic inebriation.
Henderson’s immersive and libidinal work draws on the canon of early avant-garde experimental theatre and performance practices of the 1960s. Surprising and unexpected events draw attention to our own bodies and the corporeal perimeter between interior and exterior. This acute awareness of bodily existence engages audiences in Henderson’s imagined worlds that refuse to settle.
There is a sense to Henderson’s practice that is not familiar or lateral. Rather than alluding to an understanding of abstraction as dreamscape, however, this work is instead based in a reality that is multiplicitous and expansive. Henderson’s work presents contracting worlds that oscillate between transformation and regeneration.