A Life in Art

Dreams Erase Fear in New Art Exhibit at Gallery RIVAA

Dreams erase fear is the underlying theme for Constance Tanner’s Illusions & Delusions, opening next week at Gallery RIVAA. But some contrast makes it more powerful.

By David Stone

Roosevelt Island News

Until dipping back into the history of Tanner’s work on which I’ve reported, the impact of Illusions & Delusions, coming up at Gallery RIVAA, was less clear. Looking back, I saw a message about how COVID-19 altered Roosevelt Island and New York City, but more powerfully, how art can absorb a blow.

Art Erases Fear -- Connie Tanner with some friends.
Illusions and Delusions artist Constance Tanner with some acquaintances.

For her, dreams erase fear, doubt and anxiety, but the coronavirus awakened that understanding.

In 2013, I had my first exposure to Tanner’s artwork. Then, she’d lived in New York City for five years.

“The people of this city are quirky, giving, eclectic, fabulous. The ultimate melting pot,” she said.

“Immediately I felt at home and began by painting familiar scenes from my neighborhood.”

Dreams Erase Fear: Illusions & Delusions

“In all my paintings I attempt to inspire the observer to feel good,” she told me, back in 2013.  “That sums up the purpose of my art.”

In years since, Tanner expanded, adding objects to her repertoire.

RIVAA Vernissage XIX Opening
A little chair (right) created by Tanner at Vernissage XIX.

Although coronavirus shutdowns idled RIVAS’s Vernissage XIX, a Tanner chair set in the window, a passive pre-pandemic reminder.

Then, as we’ve heard so many times, everything changed.

“During the initial COVID lock down I was isolated and anxious pretty much like everyone else,” Tanner tells us, “until I had a dream.”

“There was a turning cylinder and it kept sprouting COVID flowers until the cylinder was covered. And then, one by one, the flowers would pop and turn into a head or hands in the air. My dining room table was filled with celebrating people.

” And,” she said, “I wasn’t afraid any more.”

Her dreams erased fear.

Dreams Into Art

Being who she is, Constance Tanner began turning her dreams into art.

“They all made it to a piece of art,” she says.

And these dreams erasing her fear became the foundation for Illusions & Delusions.

See for yourself.

Illusions & Delusions opens at Gallery RIVAA, 527 Main Street, Roosevelt Island on Saturday, October 31st. Everyone’s invited to an opening reception from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.

COVID-19 restricts hours for visiting the gallery, but until it closes on November 29th, you can see Illusions & Delusions, dreams that erased fear and emerged as art, on weekends from 11:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. The gallery is also open from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. on Wednesdays.

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