For FOG Design+Art 2023, Night Gallery is proud to announce a presentation of new works by the artist Claire Tabouret and artisan Nathan Thelen.
This collaboration is an intimate one, carried out between married creatives who continuously bend traditionalism and blur the boundaries between art and craft. Taking up a longstanding interest in mysticism and its influence on Modernist art, the presentation centers around Pamela Colman Smith, an early 20th century artist, writer, and occultist best known for her illustrations that appear on the cards of the Rider-Waite tarot deck. Tabouret and Thelen have previously worked together on the renovation of their historic home in Los Feliz, which features a ceiling fresco by Tabouret that reimagines Smith’s iconic imagery of the tarot.
The new collaborative works begin with Thelen’s altars. Each unique piece is made of hand-carved African mahogany and features a mantle with a brass votive holder. Illuminated candles establish a mysterious sense of depth, suggesting light is emanating directly from the altar. Tabouret, compelled by the works’ reverential qualities, was invited by Thelen to create custom works as an accompaniment. She joined forces with the historic Judson Studios to translate a series of watercolor portraits of Smith into stained glass—a fitting tribute, as Smith was inspired by stained glass in her own work. The fused stained glass is backed with silver mirror, which casts a reflection of candlelight and emphasizes the ethereal nature of the subject. Alongside the joint works, Tabouret also presents a selection of new paintings of Smith.
Elegant and otherworldly, the presentation echoes the mythical symbolism of the Rider-Waite deck and pays homage to its original artist with Tabouret’s signature gesturalism and the narrative capacity of her tableaux.