With an aesthetic that has aligned much of her work with the Pattern and Decoration movement, Girouard infuses her imagery with symbolism, creating a language with which to tell stories. While her earlier works reflect a spareness inviting the viewer to add to the story, other works go deep, submerged in layers of geometry and geography, each plane canceling or refracting previous layers, creating a riveting cacophony of imagery.
Girouard's exhibition history includes invitations to international events such as Documenta 6 in Germany, the Venice Biennial, Paris Biennial and in 1983, a mid-career retrospective mounted at the Rufino Tamayo Museum in Mexico City.
Tina Girouard's early career is associated with the Post-Minimalism and Pattern and Decoration movements in NYC, as evidenced by her work with a wide variety of non-traditional media and repeating patterns. She was also among a group of artists known for blazing new trails in the areas of performance, installation and the new medium of video in the 1970s New York. In a 1982 interview, Girouard explains the common thread: "It's a live performance and I use the same kind of form - there are repeated objects, and the difference here is that people are performing them into place, a kind of ritual placement... I believe one's life is made up of many parts, and that you get your world view or philosophy by adding up these parts."
Tina co-founded "Food" Restaurant with Gordon Matta Clark and Carol Goodden, an artist-run eatery in 1970s Soho where all aspects of preparing and eating food were considered art. Her art activism continued in the mid 80’s when she helped found the Lafayette area alternative space for contemporary art, the Artists’ Alliance”, and spent time as Director and President of Festival International de Louisiane. Her involvement with F.I.L. led her to Haiti where she became immersed in Haitian culture, leading to a dynamic reinterpretation of her artistic vocabulary in creating multiple series of sequin art works.
The "vodou drapeau", or vodou flag tradition in Haiti uses sequins and seed beads to form colorful, effervescent representations of the vodou "lwa" or spirits. When Girouard first began traveling to Haiti in the late 1980s, she was drawn to the cultural similarities between Haiti and Louisiana and found kindred spirits among the "vodou drapeau" masters. Through a close collaboration with well-known sequin artist Antoine Oleyant and others, she deepened her connection and understanding of Haitian vodou and culture, eventually creating her own "lwa" series in respect for these flag-makers and their art. To further promote understanding of these artists and Haitian culture, Girouard authored the seminal book "Sequin Artists of Haiti" in 1994.
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All Photographs © 2020 The Estate of Tina Girouard / Artist's Rights Society (ARS). New York.
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