Tara Polansky - Artist
Artist Statement

Much of my work coalesces around photographic source imagery including snapshots found in my family’s old photo albums, newspaper obituary photos, and found school portraits. Ultimately, I am interested in the way portraits, which are intended to give insight, often render their subjects more anonymous and generic by idealizing them. I am concerned with the way nostalgia may encourage us to forget that the past included tragedy and struggle in addition to joy, and I raise questions about how we see, remember, and imagine.

In some work, I use fragmentation, erasure, and redrawing to consider what remains when people are absent; I focus on the tangible elements and physical spaces that withstand time, as people cannot. In other work, I examine the ways memories emerge. And yet in other bodies of work, I scrutinize objects that we use as metaphors for relationships and emotions.

Formally, I experiment with thick and thin, rough and smooth, solidity and fragility. At times using ceramics, photographs and computer technology, I produce images that vacillate between clarity and blurriness in order to encourage the viewer to ask questions that can never be answered definitively. I have experimented with a range of ceramic materials including industrial brick, stoneware, mid-range and high-fire porcelain. In addition, I use a variety of techniques to create works on paper.

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