Carefully balancing chance and control, Tarbell has created works with a direct correlation between the fragility of human life and the susceptibility of physical images.
The artist’s chosen core medium for this body of work is porcelain, a simultaneously very fragile and very strong substance. Tarbell’s studio practice involves the manipulating and capturing of smoke. To create his portraits on porcelain, Tarbell burns 35mm (art history survey) slides which create a very rich (and toxic) soot. The subsequent works are lush and black yet fragile and volatile.