Weary As I Can Be
This painting features Vera Otis—a fictional character inspired by a photograph that the artist found in a local thrift store several years ago—sitting composed, poised and self-assured. Vera has appeared throughout Tarver's body of work, acting as a surrogate for the artist and all Black women grappling with societal expectations and presumptions. In this work, the artist envisions Vera illuminated and coolly gazing outward, watching a plantation burning across the way; the same structure is engulfed in flames in the artist's rendering of the Tower from the Major Arcana of the tarot. The Tower card denotes the necessity of destruction before liberation.
Encompassing a variety of different mediums, Tarver's work questions the authenticity of our current social environment—as well as the dramatic changes it undergoes over time to continue to satisfy contemporary needs. The artist's compositions examine the present through the lens of the past, recognizing that the complexities of world history have compounded into modern-day realities and thereby affect how we address our future. Tarver's work weaves together personal references, Afro-futurist imagery and lush vegetation to depict a cast of Black subjects whose power and agency may alter the course of tomorrow.
Adrienne Elise Tarver’s interdisciplinary work questions the authenticity of our current environment. The artist’s work combines personal references, Afrofuturist imagery and lush vegetation in its depictions of Black subjects whose power and agency may alter the course of tomorrow. Tarver examines the present through the lens of the past, recognizing that world history’s complexities undergird our modern-day reality—as well as impact how we address our future.