The genesis for Tara Moorman’s newest body of work was sparked upon her discovery of an old family album after her mother’s passing in 2013. The vintage album was filled with family photos, some dating back to the 1880s, and Tara was intrigued by the storytelling opportunities it afforded.
She started developing “Letters to My Ancestors” after asking herself, “Would I be able to tell the story of my family through these old photos?” Researching the relatives in these photos lead Tara to Ancestry.com where she worked on her family tree, identifying unknown people and adding depth and detail for those with whom she was already somewhat familiar.
The result is a finished exhibition of 22 watercolor portraits of her ancestors. The paintings are not just simple reconstructions of the original photos – she has added and removed elements to create her own visual narrative. Along with the exhibition she has published a book providing the background genealogy to help viewers identify the people in the paintings and understand them as real personalities.
The Lawrence Arts Center also features a video depicting Tara’s artistic process in her Cedar Rapids studio.
Tara’s spirituality influences her work; she believes that there is a “golden light” connecting us all to the spiritual energy that created us. She sees an unpredictable quality in watercolor that lets her portray each individual’s inner divine light on paper.
Tara will delve deeper into her creative process and talk more about her current exhibition in her INSIGHT Art Talk on Wednesday, January 24 at 7 pm in the Lawrence Arts Center middle gallery. Don’t miss this talk, and stay for a Q&A session with the artist!
detail from Engagement Day
ANNA VIOLET STUBBLEFIELD AND CHARLES SAMPSON NATION, CIRCA 1915.