A Surrealist Stratigraphy of Dorothea Tanning

surrealist-stratigraphyIn A Surrealist Stratigraphy of Dorothea Tanning’s Chasm, Catriona McAra offers the first critical study of the literary work of the celebrated American painter and sculptor Dorothea Tanning (1910–2012). McAra fills a major gap in the scholarship, repositioning Tanning’s writing at the centre of her entire creative oeuvre and focusing on a little-known short story “Abyss,” a gothic-flavoured, desert adventure which Tanning worked on intermittently throughout her creative life, finally publishing it in 2004 as Chasm: A Weekend.

McAra performs a major reassessment of the visual and literary principles upon which the surrealist movement was initially founded. Combining a groundbreaking methodological approach with reference to cultural theory and feminist aesthetics as well as Tanning’s unpublished journals and notes, McAra reveals Tanning as a key player in contemporary art practice as well as in the historical surrealist milieu.