May 23, 2017

Paulette Tavormina at Colnaghi

Seizing Beauty: A dialogue between the photographs of Paulette Tavormina and Old Master still lives
Paulette Tavormina
Colnaghi Gallery
May 23 – June 23


Paulette Tavormina: Seizing Beauty, Colnaghi Gallery, 2017



Paulette’s statement:


Beyond the beauty, I want the viewer to see as I see, to feel as I feel when a leaf balances just-so, pointing the eye to the next little narrative that is part of the larger work. This beauty around us is fleeting, and yet can be forever embedded in a perfect moment that is a photograph.


Creating these heartfelt vignettes allows me an avenue to explore the intimate instances of my life, to tell stories of love and loss, of joy and sorrow, all while feeling grateful for the rich abundance of life, then seizing and sharing that beauty. It is a dream come true to be exhibiting at Colnaghi with its rich and revered history. It’s truly an honor to have my photographs featured alongside selections from the gallery’s quintessential Old Master paintings.


This show is the culmination of shared passion and immense dedication; a uniquely collaborative experience in which I was fortunate and grateful to work closely with the curators and their associates whose collective vision is reflected in this exhibition.


Featured are photographs from several of my series over the last eight years including newer images such as the Orchard Pears, 2016 and Zebra Finches and Tulips, 2017. I had always hoped my photographs would affect someone as deeply as the Old Master paintings have affected me. To have the works in conversation is the realization of my greatest artistic aspiration.


Art is a continuum; the past and present are timeless, woven together with gossamer threads. When captured in a photograph or a painting, still life gives immortality to a single moment in all its beauty and fragility.




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Paulette Tavormina: Seizing Beauty, Colnaghi Gallery, 2017


LTI-Lightside produced over 20 pieces for Seizing Beauty ranging in size from 16 x 20 to 40 x 50. We’ve been working with Paulette since 2009 and much of that can be seen by clicking here to access our online Project Archive. Her work has been exhibited around the world from New York to Los Angeles, London, Paris, Moscow and beyond. To learn more about Paulette’s work, please visit her website here.



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April 21, 2016

Paulette Tavormina in T Magazine / The New York Times

Paulette Tavormina’s Seizing Beauty
Vivid Images That Aren’t Old Masters – but Look Just Like Them
T Magazine / The New York Times
By Gay Gassman, April 20, 2016



Reposted from T Magazine / The New York Times online:


The photographer Paulette Tavormina began her professional career working with antiques, food styling and photographing works of art for an auction house. She’s also spent many years collecting bits and pieces — the insects, objects and flowers that fill her studio — from markets and little shops. Her new book “Seizing Beauty,” out next week, took six years to photograph and brings together all these experiences: It features 65 sumptuous color images inspired by old master still lifes. (The book’s release coincides with a show at the Academy Art Museum in Easton, Md., which opens April 23.)


Tavormina - T copy(725)
L: Jacob van Hulsdonck: Still Life with Lemons, Oranges and a Pomegranate, c. 1620-40
R: Paulette Tavormina: Lemons and Pomegranates, After J.V.H., 2010


At first glance, you might easily mistake one of Tavormina’s images for a Zurbarán or a work from the Dutch Golden Age of painting — many of the book’s photographs are built up with flowers, fruit, insects, objects, jewelry, butterflies and broken bits of porcelain. Others are inspired by the symbolic Vanitas paintings of the 16th and 17th centuries, with skulls and the reminder of death and the passing of all worldly goods.


“I’m in love with the old masters, totally fascinated with them,” Tavormina says. “But I create my own personal story within each work. The themes are so universal — love, loss, death — so it is all pretty simple.” Each image takes several months to produce: several weeks to conceive, research and gather the props from flower and farmer’s markets, followed by sketching the image out in pencil, staging it and then setting it all up. The process of getting the lighting and composition just right takes days — sometimes so long that the flowers wilt, the fruit changes color and she has to start over.


The artist also includes a third series of works, “Botanicals,” which are much more contemporary in feel, shot from above on black backgrounds and inspired by flowers from her mother’s garden. They, too, are deliberately constructed (and Instagram-friendly).


“Paulette Tavormina: Seizing Beauty” is out April 16 (The Monacelli Press, $65) and is available to pre-order at “Paulette Tavormina” is on view April 23-July 10 at Academy Art Museum, 106 South Street, Easton, Md.,



LTI-Lightside has been working with Paulette Tavomina since 2009, much of which, can been seen in our Project Archive here. Her work has been exhibited in New York, Miami, Chicago, Los Angeles, London, Paris, and Moscow among other venues around the world. For more of Paulette’s work, please visit her website here.



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February 5, 2015

Paulette Tavormina at Robert Mann

Paulette Tavormina
Robert Mann Gallery
February 5 – March 21


From the Robert Mann Gallery press release:


Meaning “from the pantry,” Bodegón is inspired by the paintings of 18th-century Spanish still life painter Luis Meléndez. Featuring the elegant everyday cookware of the rustic kitchen, these spreads bring the artist’s signature gift for vibrant simplicity to a new cornucopia of grains, meats and sweets. Hearty loaves bookend bountiful fruits, grounded by burnished copper pots and humbly charismatic country jugs.


Paulette Tavormina: from Bodegon
L: Still Life with Jamón Ibérico, after L.M., 2014
R: Still Life with Quince and Jug, after L.M., 2014
both 36″ x 48″ archival pigment prints


Accompanying Bodegón, Tavormina’s Botanicals series recalls the botanical illustrations of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, re-imagining these scientific studies as exuberant cascades of flora and fauna. A fantastical menagerie of bugs, buds, and dewy blossoms burst against velvety black depths, leading the eye in figure eights around the canvas.  And yet Tavormina’s signature motifs of darkness and decay keep these works from pure flights of fancy—rather, they are visions of life in all of its subtle shades of beauty.


Paulette Tavormina: from Bodegon (Botanicals)
Botanical V (Peonies and Wisteria), 2013
24 x 24 archival pigment print



Paulette Tavormina surrounded by her Botanicals


This is Paulette’s second show with Robert Mann. You can read more of our interactions with her and find links to her website and exhibition’s here. Check her website here for news … she’s got a lot coming in 2015/16!




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February 7, 2014

Paulette Tavormina in Boston

Natura Morta and Flowers, Fish & Fantasies
Paulette Tavormina
Robert Klein Gallery
February 8 – March 29

Ars Libri
February 7 – March 29



505 Paulette Tavormina: Botanical VI (Juliet Roses), 2013
54 x 54 archival pigment print



The following text is from the Robert Klein Gallery press release:
Following successful shows in London, Moscow, Paris, San Francisco, New York, and Chicago, PAULETTE TAVORMINA will have a solo exhibition in Boston this February. ROBERT KLEIN GALLERY debuted Tavormina’s photographs in 2009 and presented her first solo show in 2010.
The forthcoming exhibition, Black & Bloom, has two distinct parts: Tavormina’s newest series, Botanicals, will be shown at ARS LIBRI beginning Friday, February 7; work from her earlier series, Natura Morta and Flowers, Fish & Fantasies, will be shown at Robert Klein Gallery beginning Saturday, February 8. The exhibition runs through March 29 in both locations.



 Paulette Tavomina: Crabs & Lemon, after P.C. From the series Natura Morta, 2009



A regular visitor to New York City’s flower and farmers markets, Tavormina looks for “perfectly imperfect” plants to set the scene. But she does not limit herself to items on sale; she has found butterflies on the sidewalk and picked lilies of the valley through wrought iron fences. Florence Fabricant of THE NEW YORK TIMES called Tavormina’s still lifes “arresting.” Vince Aletti of THE NEW YORKER writes of the work: “[f]ruits, vegetables, and flowers spill from their containers in an almost obscene display of abundance. Everything seems poised between voluptuousness and rot, at once gorgeous and doomed.”

Botanicals, a series Tavormina started in 2013, takes a traditional genre and flips it on its head. At first glance, the images appear to be deconstructed still lifes from her earlier series Natura Morta and Flowers, Fish & Fantasies. But where she once directed the viewer’s eye, Tavormina is now dispersing with a central focus and playfully pulling our attention to the edges of the image.

“These are all my favorite flowers, in all stages of life,” says Tavormina. “They represent my childhood, my memories.” In her quiet, beautiful way, she reminds us that winter’s root vegetables and summer’s roses can flourish side-by-side, that the seasons have given way to age and time.



LTI-Lightside has been working with Tavomina since 2009. Her work has been exhibited in New York, Miami, Chicago, Los Angeles, London, Paris, and Moscow among other venues. For more of Paulette’s work, please visit her website here




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January 16, 2013

Paulette Tavormina: Natura Morta at Robert Mann

Natura Morta
Paulette Tavormina
Robert Mann Gallery
January 17 – March 9, 2013


Paulette Tavormina: Peaches and Morning Glories, After G.G., 2012.
32 x 48 archival pigment print from the exhibition Natura Morta


From the Robert Mann Gallery press release:


Robert Mann Gallery is pleased to present Natura Morta, Paulette Tavormina’s first solo exhibition with the gallery. Natura Morta will bring together a selection of exquisite still life photographs that recall the traditions of 17th century Old Master painting. Luscious fruit and flowers among other things are rendered in a painterly perspective reminiscent of Francisco de Zurbaran, Adriaen Coorte and Giovanna Garzoni, whom Tavormina counts among her greatest influences.



Paulette Tavormina: Lemons and Pomegranates, After J.v.H., 2012. 32 x 48 archival pigment print from the exhibition Natura Morta


An avid collector of butterflies and insects, shells, dried flowers, and ceramics, the sourcing of props is a crucial part of her process. Each object is closely tied to the place it was discovered – fresh produce from a New York City farmer’s market, horseshoe crabs tossed ashore in Nantucket, ladybugs found at a taxidermy shop in Paris. Not only do these objects look to the art historical roots of the genre of the still life, but their meaning is often multi-layered, a fig perhaps referring to the artist’s own Sicilian heritage.




Paulette Tavormina: Flowers and Fish IV, After G.V.S., 2012. 24″ x 24″ archival pigment print from the exhibition Natura Morta

Largely self-taught, Tavormina has been exhibited internationally and was the winner of the Grand Prix at the 2010 International Culinaire Photography Festival in Paris. She has worked on set as a food stylist in Hollywood and also photographs works of art for Sotheby’s. Her work has been featured in several publications including the New York Times, Boston Globe, L’Express, Martha Stewart magazine and Photo Technique magazine. She lives and works in New York City.


LTI-Lightside has been working with Tavomina since 2009. Her work has been exhibited in New York, Miami, Chicago, Los Angeles, London, Paris, and Moscow among other venues. For more of Paulette’s work, please visit her website here. For more on the exhibition at Robert Mann Gallery, click here.



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