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Article by Julia Finnegan

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Sticks & Stones

September 24TH-October 30TH, 2021

A Show of Smalls: Group Show 

November 5 - December 24, 2021

PAST EXHIBITIONS.

PHILEEN DICKINSON - COVID STUDIES 2020: EXTROSPECTION

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OTIS TAMASAUSKAS The Amalgam, Repeatable Image with Fragments

  • 3 min read

The Amalgam, Repeatable Image with Fragments

"Tamasauskas engages with this concept of seemingly disparate imagery unfolding and connecting together, resulting in printmaking at its visceral best."

Otis Tamasauskas 

(BFA, RCA) Otis is an internationally recognized printmaker and educator. He was born in Tirschenreuth, Germany 1947, and immigrated to Toronto, Canada in 1954. Tamasauskas graduated from the University of Windsor, Ontario in 1974, and afterwards worked at Open Studio as a printmaker, benefiting from the tutorage of Don Holman and Richard Sewell, eventually becoming the Director of intaglio and Co-director of lithography. He has taught printmaking as a sessional instructor at McMaster University, University of Toronto Scarborough College, and for the past 33 years full-time at Queen’s University, Kingston. In 2017 he retired from teaching and is continuing to pursue his passion in printmaking. He has participated in many numerous workshops, and is recently back from Quito, Ecuador where he demonstrated “greener and safer methods of printing stone lithography”. ​Tamasauskas’ work is in many corporate and private collections, notably The National Gallery of Canada, Art Gallery of Ontario, Vancouver Art Gallery, and the Room’s Art Gallery of Labrador, Newfoundland.

Amalgam

a·mal·gam  - noun: amalgam; plural noun: amalgams.  a mixture or blend. “a curious amalgam of the traditional and the modern”  synonyms: combination, union, merger, blend, mixture, mingling, compound, fusion, marriage, weave, coalescence, synthesis, composite,  composition, concoction, amalgamation; informal: mash-up

Repeatable

refers to a matrix and the potential of multi-printing a hand made plate.

Fragment

A portion of a whole, a fragment is often what remains of a damaged or ruined object. A fragment of pottery is called a shard. Or, to make fragments.  

 Grammatically, “fragments,” can be both noun and verb. An artist fragments the picture plane into several related shards, layers or pieces. These fragments can be either physical (pictorial space, literal subject matter) or metaphorical (depicting fragments of memory, or symbolic remnants of our inner self). 

 Selections of works printed in traditional techniques, and images made up of fragmented pieces, that are fused together through the printmaking process.

Tamasauskas has always been fascinated by the printmaking process: the sensuous types of papers, the character and smell of inks, the surface quality of layering colour over colour on limestone and amalgamating these parts by the pressure of the press. Printmaking has always been thought of as a medium where one can try out ideas or test old ideas in new forms and formats, a way an artist can gain a little perspective on something impossible to see in any other way. It is a very didactic form ripe for the laws of art, and ready for the artist to use and obscure those laws, the print itself used like a mirror of the artist.

Some of the works exhibited here, ( Art Noise Gallery) were part of the Open Studio, (Toronto) exhibition 2019), celebrating his career in printmaking, enveloped by its own unique factors that present endless possibilities. Tamasauskas finds inspiration in a quote by Eugene Delacroix who referenced stone lithography in the 19th century:

"When you’ve drawn and even blackened and re-blackened…When you have scraped and put in the lights, then you can lay in the black again, stumping it till you have rendered your conception… Take a few chances and you’ll discover the sorcery for yourself."

As an educator in printmaking at Queen’s University, Tamasauskas had always enjoyed watching his third-year students work on a similar project, also called Amalgam. The idea was simple: each student had to quarter a large sheet of paper and print four separate images that had no relationship to each other -- the more dissonant the better. For Tamasauskas the Amalgam project allowed students to think about making visual imagery with a greater latitude, and forced them out of their comfort zone. 

 In his own take on Amalgam, Tamasauskas engages with this concept of seemingly disparate imagery unfolding and connecting together, resulting in printmaking at its visceral best.