Lyons Wier Gallery is pleased to present “Hell Yes!” a fresh, new series of portrait paintings by Tara Lewis. “Hell Yes!” portrays real-life subjects adorned with incongruous props, artist-made t-shirts and satin pageant sashes boasting pop culture text idioms. Her portrait process happens organically as models go through her wardrobe, accessories and props to discover a ‘persona’. These ‘play-dates’ serve as a pivotal ingredient for her practice as they are the underpinning of the subsequent photoshoot that serves as the source material for her paintings. Referencing this initial imagery, Lewis explores celebrated cultural forces such as the Lone Ranger, high school cheering squads, home-court basketball, yearbook superlatives, track shorts, tube socks and tennis headbands which feature in the work.
Lewis’ collaborative approach documents a consciousness of place, playfulness and self-awareness framed by irreverence and raw candor that she is known for. Her compositions portray coming-of-age empowerment, authenticity, spontaneity and informality expressing an entirely new story; one that is intentionally left open-ended, allowing for a timeless resonance. Lewis’ cleverness of interweaving modernity and past pop-cultural phenomena renders imagery that comments on society’s evolving perceptions of youth, girl culture, beauty, identity, teen trends, empowerment, social issues and pop culture. The paintings play with scale, redefine gender stereotypes and revisit past decades with a dose of satirical zing that results in trophy toting portraiture and willful non-conformist debutantes gone rebel-rogue. <Lyons Wier Gallery>