Tau Lewis (b. 1993, Toronto, Ontario, Canada) employs arduous methods such as hand sewing, carving, and assemblage to build intricate sculptural portraits and quilts. A self-taught artist, her practice is rooted in healing personal, collective, and historical traumas through labour. The materiality of Lewis’ work is often informed by her surrounding environment: she constructs out of found, gathered, and recycled materials from Toronto, New York, and outside of her family's home in Negril, Jamaica. The transformative act of repurposing these materials recalls practices of resourcefulness in diasporic contexts; upcycling is a recuperative act that reclaims both agency and memory. The portraits themselves reference both individuals in Lewis’ community and imagined ancestors.
Lewis will be included in 2021 exhibitions at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Stephen Friedman Gallery, London; Prospect 5, New Orleans; Sadie Coles Gallery, London; and the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa. She has previously exhibited at international museums including Oakville Galleries, Oakville (2020); the Hepworth Wakefield, UK (2019); College Art Galleries, Saskatoon (2019); Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Kingston (2018); the New Museum, New York (2017); the Art Gallery of Mississauga, Mississauga (2017); MoMA PS1, New York (2017); and the Art Gallery of York University, Toronto (2017). She has also exhibited in artist-run spaces including Mercer Union, Toronto (2018); Plug-In Institute of Contemporary Art, Winnipeg (2017); Gallery 44, Toronto (2017); and 8-11, Toronto (2017) and galleries such as Cooper Cole, Toronto (2020); Night Gallery, Los Angeles (2020); Jeffrey Stark, New York (2019); Jeffrey Deitch, Los Angeles (2019); and Shoot the Lobster, New York (2018). Lewis currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.
Solo booth with Cooper Cole at Frieze New York, 2018