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Tara McPherson Takes a Look at Mythology in 'The Bunny in the Moon'

Juxtapoz // Wednesday, 06 Oct 2010

Tara McPherson jumps back into the gallery circuit with her new solo show, The Bunny in the Moon. The new works by this popular Brooklyn-based artist sees a creative interpretation of mythology from various cultures.


In McPherson’s second solo show at Jonathan LeVine Gallery, The Bunny in the Moon features oil paintings on linen, drawings on paper, and the debut of McPherson’s new series of soft sculptures.


McPherson traveled to 30 cities around the world promoting her last solo exhibition catalogue Lost Constellations. During the book tour, she discovered an intriguing diversity of perspectives in world folklore which inspired her new body of work, influenced by myths and legends with Japanese, Brazilian, Saxon, Greek, and Pagan sources.


The resulting imagery, rendered in McPherson’s signature bold and graphic style, explores subjects of love, loss, strength, vulnerability and female empowerment.




The show’s title piece, The Bunny in the Moon, refers to an Asian legend with Buddhist origins of a rabbit which sacrifices its life to feed a starving man. The man is a deity in disguise and honors the animal by sending its ashes to the moon for all to see its image and remember its selfless act.


McPherson believes the ultimate sacrifice of life and death can be equated to love and loss. In the painting, a moonlit nude couple hold arrows over white pieces of paper pinned above each other’s hearts—either about to pierce flesh or write a love note. The paper refers to target markers used during prison executions in Ireland, reinforcing the concept of self-surrender in the name of love.


Another painting references an ancient Roman version of the biblical story of Adam & Eve, in which the first elephants eat mandrake root, become aroused, mate, and give birth to offspring in the safety of water. Other myths which influenced works in the show include Brazilian river dolphins who shape-shift into men and seduce women during festivals, a Japanese ghost bride who steals the souls of her lovers, and the classic Greek legend of Narcissus.




Born in San Francisco in 1976, and raised in Los Angeles, Tara McPherson is a painter, poster artist and freelance illustrator currently based in New York. In 2001, she received her BFA from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA with honors in Illustration and a minor in Fine Art.


McPherson’s artwork has been exhibited around the world, featured in numerous magazines and publications. An image of her Searching For Penguins painting was published in a New York Times article about Jonathan LeVine Gallery in March of 2010. As an illustrator, McPherson has created comic art, covers, advertising and editorial illustrations for DC Comics, Dark Horse Comics, Warner Brothers, HarperCollins, Bloomsbury, Kidrobot, Punk Planet, Dogfish Head Brewery, and Nike among others. She’s produced numerous gig posters for musical artists and rock bands such as Beck, Modest Mouse, Mastodon, Death Cab for Cutie and many more.


Tara McPherson

The Bunny in the Moon

Solo Exhibition


Oct 23—Nov 20, 2010

Opening Reception: Saturday, Oct 23, 7—9pm


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