By Joe Garvey

Printmaker Tanja Softić, who received her M.F.A. from Old Dominion University in 1992, is one of 10 artists featured in a large virtual exhibition, "Dis/placements: Revisitations of Home," presented by the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art at the College of Charleston (S.C.) School of the Arts.

Softić, a native of Sarajevo, Yugoslavia (present-day Bosnia and Herzegovina), is a professor of art and chair of the University of Richmond's Department of Art and Art History. She works across the media of printmaking, drawing, photography and book arts to explore questions of cultural belonging and memory.

For the Halsey exhibition, she and the other artistsaddress issues of displacement from their ancestral homelands of Asia, Africa, Europe and the Middle East. They were paired with writers who offer their own reflections on the art and its relationship to the concepts of home and displacement.

Softić provided three recent sets of images - "Memory and Entropy" (2020), "Night Blooms" (2019) and "Hybrid Being" (2020) - that aim to provoke thought about what was - and what will be.

"I work on and with the paper, the substrate civilizations are recorded upon, the last bastion of tactility in our world of virtual images," is how she describes her artwork on her website. "The processes themselves and metaphors they offer, the physicality of paper and drawing media, the visual sources I use, all inform my work. ... I hope that the viewer sees them the way one sees a familiar thicket of weeds one day, in particular moment, in particular light, suddenly awash in form and meaning."

The core of the project, which opened for in-person viewing Sept. 17, exists virtually. Throughout the fall, content will be added, including virtual conversations between pairs or artists and writers.

Softić's work is included in numerous collections, among them the New York Public Library, New York, N.Y.; the Library of Congress Print Department, Washington, and New South Wales Gallery of Art, Sydney, Australia. She is a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts/Southern Arts Federation Visual Artist Fellowship (1996), Painting Fellowship from the Virginia Commission for the Arts (2004) and a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant (2009), among other awards.

Softić's work was featured at the Halsey Institute in 2011 in "Migrant Universe." A catalogue by the same title was produced in 2011.


This artwork from Tanja Softić's "Night Blooms" collection is among the pieces on display.

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