Tau Lewis
when last you found me here

May 24–August 24, 2019

 College Art Gallery 1,  Peter MacKinnon Building,
107 Administration Place

Curator, Leah Taylor

Friday, May 24 at 6:30 pm
Friday, May 24 at 7:30 pm

Exhibition take-away essay by Magdalyn Asimakis 

Tau Lewis combines natural and synthetic materials to create simulations, or vessels, of living organisms. Lewis is a Jamaican-Canadian sculptor whose self-taught practice is rooted in healing personal, collective and historical traumas through labour. She employs methods of construction such as hand sewing, carving and assemblage of repurposed and reclaimed materials to build these time capsules.

With a deep consideration for the objects she utilizes, Lewis recognizes they have been ‘passed through multiple hands and are energetically charged, which helps bring the figurative works to life.’ Lewis’ material practice is directly influenced by her environment, while conceptually the sculptures investigate black identity and agency, memory and recovery, and African diaspora.



Tau Lewis. What in the water? (time capsule #3).2018.plaster bandage, cloth, plaster, acrylic paint, stones, foam sealant, secret objects.Courtesy of Tau Lewis and the collection of David Moos

Tau Lewis.you lose shreds of your truth every time I remember you.2017.plaster, cloth wire, chain, acrylic paint, stones, secret objects, fur, leather, chair, pants, shoes.Courtesy of Tau Lewis and the collection of Nixon Chultz


About the Artist

Tau Lewis’ self-taught practice is rooted in healing personal, collective and historical traumas through labour. She employs methods of construction such as hand sewing, carving and assemblage to build portraits. She considers spaces of erasure, what they might hold and how we can re-access these spaces as generative information centres through storytelling and imagination. Her work is bodily and organic, with an explicit strangeness. The materiality of Lewis’ work is often informed by her surrounding environment; she constructs out of found objects and recycled materials. She connects these acts of repurposing, collecting and archiving with diasporic experience. Her portraits are recuperative gestures that explore agency, memory and recovery. Lewis’ work has been included in exhibitions at Frieze New York, Atlanta Contemporary, Jeffrey Stark (NY), Shoot the Lobster (NY), Night Gallery (LA), MoMa PS1 (NY), Cooper Cole (Toronto) and New Museum (NY).


Tau Lewis .I the spirit conductor come to tell you we were here before this.2018.stone, concrete, plaster bandage, dried flowers, secret objects, epoxy, house paint, acrylic paint, foam sealant, found metal, found wood, fur, leather, found gloves, polyester batting, fabric, dragonflies, black sea fan, seashells .Courtesy of Tau Lewis and the collection of Murray Quinn