February 17, 2022 - May 13, 2022
Karl and Helen Burger Gallery
Tamara Torres Self Portrait

About the Exhibition

Maya Angelou said, "There is no agony like bearing an untold story inside of you." The exhibit, Profundo, is about identifying and releasing those untold stories.

Profundo, the photo collages:

The digital photography collages in Profundo illuminate the relationships of the men who have impacted individual women within the feminist upsurge in Puerto Rican communities. Women of Puerto Rican descent present a lineage, a chain, a memory of unity, of fighting against inequality, domestic violence, rape culture, and injustice. These women don't neatly fit into the word "feminist," or identify with it, they exist in a different light and space, balancing cultural traditions and newly found independence. These photo collages are external manifestations of the untold internal light within these women, kindled and fortified by men who played large roles in their life. This isn't about traditional sisterhood, or Western notions of equal rights in feminism. As they say, it's complicated. In a world navigating a pandemic, COVID-19, the complications have compounded. This project will continue.

Profundo, the paintings:

The restrictions of the pandemic, the isolations imposed by it, and its continuously evolving nature, were unintentionally but importantly influential to Profundo, conditions bringing about mitosis, a division into another creative path for releasing the untold story inside.

As my ability to connect with women in the collaborative creation of my digital photography collages was curtailed, I went back to my studio to regroup and think about the future of this project. I began to look within, to gather my own untold story and think through my own experiences of darkness formed by depression, anxiety, and societal traumas, experiences which were dark yet had not extinguished that internal light within me. For the first time, I began thinking of conversations I had with my own mother on culture and feminism. This led to renewed self-reflection upon my Afro-Caribbean roots. Profundo evolved. The idea of Profundo became the key, because as I was gathering women's stories and photographing them, I began thinking about the internal emotions we are all dealing with during this pandemic. Out of this emerged the paintings. Each painting felt like an internal conversation, a dialogue with those who had impacted my own development as well as with the women I had met in my journey with Profundo. What emerged was my own untold story of darkness, violence, and uncertainty, which was never-the-less unable to extinguish the light within me, which I carry forward into a feminist future. These paintings are a physical manifestation of my own journey to Profundo. They will also continue.

Selected Works

About the Artist

Tamara Torres was born into poverty in Trenton, New Jersey, in 1978, of Puerto Rican and Taino ancestry. Encountering art books in the public library, she found an escape from her life on the streets. At age 13, Torres was introduced to her first camera through an acquaintance working at a one-hour photo store. Her photographs evolved over time into collages of images, text, symbols and abstract-painted backdrops created by Torres.

Known for her abstract paintings that reflect complicated emotional landscapes navigated by her signature "shadow men," Torres shares her world through the creation of works that embody her Afro-Latina ancestry and life experiences.

In every artwork she creates, Torres' creative process begins with a concept from childhood memories, music or current events. Art has offered her a way to heal and stand up against being a victim of circumstance.

Torres’ inspiration comes from the energy of her photographs, the trumpet sounds of Miles Davis, the writings of James Baldwin, the declarations of Victoria Santa Cruz and the stories of the unknown heroes who have saved her life.

For Torres, her abstract paintings have a religious connection and often represent a cry for mental sanctuary against the darkness that arises from unwelcome encounters.

Torres is one of only a few Latina artists who pursue abstract art and she values the support of important mentors. She has exhibited her art in New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, London, Edinburgh and Rome.

In the Press

Observers in real time, inside the recently opened BSB Gallery where Torres’ art displays, could see Torres wade into that cold-water abyss, familiar liquid, dark, deep and despair-filled.
- L.A. Parker, Trentonian 
Her most famous pieces have that melancholy component that was gestating in her eyes when she was 12 years old, and that, through her collages, tell her stories.
- Yamily Habib, BE Latina
In taking each portrait and video of the models, Torres poses the question of: "What does feminism mean to you?"
- - Tory Richardson, MCCC