Serious Business

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Tropical Contemporary is pleased to present "Serious Business", a group show bringing together work by Carmen Tiffany, Carey Lin, Eric Edvalson, and Lou Shafer.

The opening reception will be Nov. 2nd from 6-9pm, with additional open hours Saturdays 11/3, 11/10, & 11/17 from 1-4pm.

Admission is, as always, free!

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An artist’s value is measured in terms of their “work” - the pattern of their production of material objects, ideas, or performances. These products are then called “works”; an artist who makes and shows “works” regularly is a “working” artist. Play, in this framework of values, is inevitably marginal, something to apologize for or hide, a guilty promise of temporary freedom or escape from work’s routine. But for many artists, play is an essential tool of creation and a game that opens doors to new modes of thought. Bringing together work from Carmen Tiffany, Carey Lin, Eric Evalson, and Lou Shafer, this show draws connections between the powers of play in each artists' work.

“Play – as a movement between the detached or opposite elements, can be seen as a condition for creation of metaphors, for the movement of thought (or hand) beyond the restricted paths. Play activates the possibility of seeing something “as something else‟ and what is more – the ability to act as if it is something else, and at the same time to be aware that it is not. In other words play enables the double or multiple identities or identifications, the double or multiple “realities‟ to be present and absent at the same time... Representation conceptualised as a game session becomes… a synergy of, and a two-way passage between art and life, fiction and reality, subjectivity and objectivity, repetition and origin, convention and improvisation. ” (Katarzyna Zimna, “Play in the theory and practice of art”)

“Recognizable and familiar… play is ineffable, always novel and unique; never the same, yet somehow always the same.” - Denzin N. K. “The Paradoxes of Play‟

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Carmen Tiffany received her BFA from Minnesota State University in 2005, and her MFA from the University of South Florida in 2010. Working in several mediums, including installation and video, Carmen has exhibited in the United States and Europe. Recent exhibitions include Miami, New York, and Chicago. Carmen is also part of a collaboration with April Childers called Destineez Child. Using several mediums, she attempts to reconstruct her memories and investigate the significance of childhood imagination in relation to the destitute and isolated regions of culture. Working primarily in animation, drawing, and installation she focus on a bright color palette mimicking the aesthetics of childhood fantasy and fables. She heavily references textiles, patterns, popular culture and illustrative architecture to create visual archetypes within each body of work.


Carey Lin is a visual artist based in San Francisco, California. She earned her M.F.A. at the University of Chicago and her B.A. from New College of Florida. Her practice is multidisciplinary and spans painting, installation, social practice, ceramics, sound and video. In addition to her individual studio practice, Lin directs Stairwell’s, a collaborative social practice project with site-specific programs in the Bay Area and beyond. Lin is interested in creating artwork using (or referencing) everyday objects and forming social connections with others as part of her studio production. The works included in this show focus on the shapes of personal objects and creation methods that utilize social exchange. She began working with this theme in 2016 and continued these investigations during her 2018 residency at Eugene’s Opossum House.


Eric Edvalson (b. 1983, Richland, WA) is an interdisciplinary artist primarily working in photography and sculpture. He received his BFA from Eastern Washington University in 2013 and his MFA from Brigham Young University in 2017. Eric’s work has been shown nationally and online, most recently with online projects such as A New Nothing and HAFNY. He currently runs PAL, an apartment gallery in Provo, UT where he lives and works. The pieces in this show are from Expanded Objects, an ongoing photographic series where he works to reconcile his relationships to (and the relationships between) sculpture, photography, nostalgia, and representation. "Why do I enjoy sculpture but find little difficulty in it? Why do I love photography as a hobby but find it so difficult as art? Does each medium help me understand the other? Why do I feel sheepish about admitting that I am subject to nostalgia? What makes me think that I can assume others feel the same way as I do about these things? What is the purpose of straight photographic illusion beyond just being a parlor trick?"


Lou Shafer (b. 1996, Salt Lake City, Utah) is a visual artist interested in the relationships between painting, sculpture, and new media. She is currently pursuing her B.F.A. in 2D Media at Weber State University. Her current project, Space Available, is a selection of mixed media paintings and material explorations dealing with posthuman realities. Internal processing of information becomes something tangible through the manipulation of material. The human form collapses into quantities: who am (a thing) moves into what am (a thing). These intentions pour out and into the landscape. The potential for transformation is infinite when boundaries are dissolved between bodies, objects, and environments.