“Tammy Rae Carland, who teaches photography and video at UNC-Chapel Hill, has exhibited both internationally and locally (at Chapel Hill’s Ackland Museum of Art and at Raleigh’s LUMP gallery). She is also one of the ladies behind Mr. Lady Records, an independent music, video and distribution company that she runs with her partner, Kaia Wilson. Carland’s photographic work overlaps with Mr. Lady in both material and philosophical ways. Like Mr. Lady, Carland’s photography is about making the invisible deliberately and beautifully visible: lesbian domestic scenes, alternative familial relationships, poor and working class people, and Durham, N.C.
Carland’s color series of lesbian beds is stunning. Taken from above, the beds become landscapes of love wherein abstract expressionist fields of color, patterns and textures express uncharted territories, complicated lands. The bed is a place of intimacy, but also a site of legislation–a private space turned problematically public.
The possibility for reading multiple meanings in Carland’s work makes it more democratic. Carland’s beds remind me of another famous artist’s bed: Robert Rauschenberg’s “Bed,” a combine painting from 1955. Legend has it that Rauschenberg’s bed symbolizes his romantic relationship with Jasper Johns. The bed hangs on a wall–quilt, pillow and all. Paint is splattered and dripping, the quilt turned back a bit, inviting one to get in. Carland’s beds also invite: You want to lie on the sun-warmed sheets, wrap yourself in the chenille bedspread, and rest your head on the worn pillows.”
Lump is located at 505 S. Blount St, Raleigh, NC. More information about our mission and exhibition programs can be found at lumpprojects.org.