Meet the artist // Tamar Segev

Tamar Segev is a visual artist living in Urbana, IL. She received her BA in Studio Art from Carleton College and her MFA from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her work explores connections between familial memory, historical narratives, and contemporary culture, as they are embedded in specific sites and surfaces of architecture. She paints, draws, and stitches as an embodied act of remembrance, an effort to penetrate, inscribe, and process memory.

What’s your name and where you come from?

Tamar Segev from Boston, Massachusetts (U.S.A)

How did your artist journey begin?

I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember. I took art classes growing up at a
local museum and became pretty serious about art in high school. I majored in studio
art in college and finished my MFA in 2021.

Do you find inspiration in real-life situations and moments you experienced?

I am inspired by places I visit and my experience of the landscape and architecture of
a city. I take a lot of pictures to remember specific features of a place, but I also work
from my memory of the site — the colors, the light, and the lasting feeling of a place.

What is your process? What are your overarching themes in your artwork?

I am interested in how memory is embedded within a city’s built environment. In
Berlin, I have been visiting many memorials. Recently, I began taking walks looking
at Stolpersteine, commemorative plaques in front of the last known residence of
victims of National Socialism. I record the walks through an app on my phone and
then trace the line onto paper. This becomes the basis for my abstracted paintings. I
also take photos at each site. I use these photos as a guide when I work over the
initial line with oil pastel and watercolor. After these relatively quick first layers, I add
thread to the paintings. In these works and my previous body of work, I use stitching
as a way to drastically slow down my process and reference a history of textile work
in my family.

Do you think your art has evolved being in a different environment E.g. Do
you think GlogauAIR / being in Berlin has influenced your work?

Absolutely. I am clearly influenced by the history and architecture of Berlin and could
not make this work in a different location. I also love the light that comes through my
large windows at GlogauAIR and am influenced by the colors I see outside when I
am working. My use of materials has also expanded at GlogauAIR. I set some
material constraints for myself when I arrived due to the space and transportation
needs. I decided to use water-based paints and drawings materials on a small scale,
instead of my usual oil paint on large canvases. While these material choices began
out of practical concerns, they have opened so many new and exciting material
possibilities in my work that lend well to the content I am exploring. For example, I
am really excited about how the thread interacts with rigid paper, as opposed to
fabric, and the presence it has on a small scale.