Tavares Strachan was born in 1979 in Nassau, Bahamas. After studying painting and liberal arts at both College of the Bahamas in Nassau and at Brown University, he received a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design, where he studied glass, and an MFA in sculpture from Yale University. Recurring themes in Strachan’s work include invisibility, displacement (both physical and metaphorical), and the capacity of both persons and matter to withstand inhospitable environments. Strachan’s work emphasizes the migratory, cross-cultural nature of contemporary artistic production, and unsettles canonized histories and geographies.
One of Strachan’s most iconic projects, The Distance Between What We Have and What We Want (2006), consisted of a 4.5-ton block of ice. Harvested in a river near Mount McKinley, then shipped Federal Express to the Bahamas, it was exhibited in transparent, freezer at a primary school in Nassau, where solar power kept it frozen. Over the past decade, Strachan’s explorations have expanded to both outer space and under water. A major focus has been orthostatic tolerance—the body’s ability to circumvent hypotension and withstand pressure during gravitational stress, often caused by quick changes of altitude, or the more extreme circumstances of being launched into the earth’s stratosphere or submerged to the oceans’ depths.
Last year a 20,000-square-foot overview of Strachan’s work from 2003–2011, subtitled Seen/Unseen,was presented at an undisclosed New York City location and was closed to the public. Tavares Strachan: seen/unseen is fully documented with a forthcoming catalogue, designed by Stefan Sagmeister. Strachan’s solo exhibitions include Orthostatic Tolerance: It Might Not Be Such a Bad Idea if I Never Went Home Again, MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, MA (2010); Orthostatic Tolerance: Launching from an Infinite Distance, Grand Arts, Kansas City, MO (2010); Tavares Strachan: Orthostatic Tolerance, the Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia (2009); Where We Are is Always Miles Away, The Luggage Store, San Francisco, CA (2006); and The Difference Between What We Have and What We Want, Albury Sayle Primary School, Nassau, The Bahamas (2006).