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5 Things We Learned... Tara Dewitt

TARA DEWITT, CO-OWNER AT OCULUS GALLERY

LOS ANGELES, CA

Tara Dewitt has the eye. As my right-hand in the decorative department at Tiffany & Co., I could always rely on her to find the hidden gems at estate sales, antique stores or flea markets for store decor. She appreciates the unexpected beauty of lost or forgotten items, giving them new life through well curated interiors and exhibitions. Currently, she is an art dealer, appraiser, and co-owner of the Los Angeles-based Oculus Gallery.  Since her childhood in the Midwest, Tara has been passionate about the decorative arts, design and collecting. She is a former design specialist at Phillips auction house, art buyer for Tiffany & Co., and executive director at a top 20th-century decorative art and design gallery.

A 2015 relocation from New York to Los Angeles allowed Tara the opportunity to open Oculus Gallery with her partner in life and business, Dario Diovisalvi. Oculus has a tightly curated selection of emerging and mid-career artists, photographers and designers based throughout the United States and Europe. The gallery operates a studio space in the burgeoning Hyde Park neighborhood of South Los Angeles as well as an exhibition space in the Pacific Design Center, on Melrose Avenue in West Hollywood. Tara also concurrently operates Design Counsel, providing private and institutional clients with appraisal, sourcing and advisory services.

Here are 5 Things We Learned about Tara.

What made you...you?

Growing up antiquing with my mom in the Midwest instilled the ‘thrill of the hunt’ in me. She also encouraged my obsession with collecting. I’ve always collected little things - antique hair ornaments and vanity sets and lace hankies in my pre-teen years, McCoy pottery and Czeckoslovakian perfume bottles during my teens. Then moving to New York in my early twenties really enabled me to become more ‘me’ with all of the opportunities and experiences it offered. Also travel. Becoming a parent. It’s funny, you never really know what is ‘you’ until you are exposed to it. 

When are you happiest?

I’m happiest when I’m in my element – up to my ears in beautiful junk, looking for treasure. Preferably somewhere I’ve never been and don’t speak the language. And then equally when I come home to my family and cats too. So, either all the way out or all the way in. 

Would you rather have a muse or be a muse?

The notion of a muse is strange to me. I’ve always found more inspiration in culture and its artifacts than real, live people. Which is maybe a shame? Anyway, the thought of being a muse is horrifying - so much pressure! 

Who do you admire?

 People who are willing to do the hard, right thing. People who take the chance and make the move.

What is important?

Kindness. Love. Sleep. Empathy.


Follow Tara and Oculus Gallery @oculus_gallery

www.oculus-gallery.com. Check out the gallery's inventory on 1st Dibs.

Oculus Gallery is located in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Los Angeles - 2515 Southwest Drive, Unit H, Los Angeles, CA 90043. Email info@oculus-gallery.com or call +1 (323) 531-2145 for more details.

Images from left to right: Tara Dewitt Headshot by Steve Rietzke; Detail image of an Italian sconce, 1940s; Oculus Gallery inventory of Paolo de Poli enamel from the 1950s and ‘60s; Install shot of Oculus Gallery’s Summer: A Group Show; Cosmic American Turkeys, 2017 by Oculus Gallery-represented artist Meg Franklin; In-studio snapshot featuring a 1960s Fontana Arte table lamp, Milo Baughman table and Jerry Johnson “Arcadia” stools