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Stephen Talasnik
Linear Transformations, Structures of Questionable Origins
an exhibition of recent drawings and sculptures
November 7 - December 20, 2014

Reception for the artist: Friday, November 7, 6:00 to 8:00 pm
(part of Dupont Circle First Fridays)

Press Release                                                                              

Washington Post Review                                                                              

Selected Works from the Exhibition

Strata, 2014
wood and polymer
30 x 80 x 12 inches

                    Strata, detail

Profile, 2014
wood and polymer
36 x 41 x 12 inches

                                        Profile, side view

Leaning Tower, 2014                                                                             Leaning Tower, detail
pulverized stone, polymer and wood
40 x 9 x 6 inches

Propellor, 2013                                                                                             Propellor, work in progress
pencil on paper
70 x 48 inches

Linear Transformation, 2014
pencil on paper
20 x 26 inches

                                Linear Transformation, Detail

Strata, 2014
pencil on paper
20 x 72 inches

                                Strata, Detail

Suspended Tower, 2013
graphite and ink
20 x 15 inches

Leaning Towers, 2013
graphite and ink
20 x 15 inches

                                        Projects and available works by Stephen Talasnik

Press Release

The November/December exhibition at the Marsha Mateyka Gallery features recent drawings and sculptures by New York artist, Stephen Talasnik.  Titled "Linear Transformations, Structures of Questionable Origins", this exhibition contains both large and small scale drawings and wall-hung sculptures.  It will be the artist's fifth solo exhibition, at the gallery.

Stephen Talasnik is well known for his extraordinary drawings.  For more than 20 years these drawings have been exhibited and collected both in the US and more widely in Europe.  The artist's drawing process is complex and innovative.  Graphite marks on paper are often erased, abraded with unconventional tools and reworked until images appear that are both ephemeral and physically embedded in the paper. His drawings are in major public collections including the National Gallery of Art, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Whitney Museum, Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Albertina, British Museum, Stedeljk Museum Amsterdam, the State Museum of Art Berlin and the Pompidou.

In 2001, Stephen Talasnik began making sculpture.  He seems to delight in the divergence between sculpture and drawing.  Of his recent works, the artist has commented:

    "The work in this exhibition reflects my ongoing investigation of fictional engineering, archeology, and "objecthood".
    My sculpture evolves much like a wandering repetitive drawing; improvised, organic, and suggestively infinite.  The sculpture is comprised of the "bones" of structure, the objects are skeletal.  Without skin, these objects allude to an invented anatomy.
    With an ongoing simultaneous investigation of drawing, I explore the unlimited language of infrastructure.  There is never an attempt to use nature or architecture as inspiration.  It is my ambition to use these complementary elements as a departure; my responsibility is to absorb the real and drag it through my experience in an attempt to create something invented or innovative.
    Both in the case of drawing and sculpture, there is never any measurement.  Instead I rely on intuition and instinct to examine the geometrical language of the organic....."

As with his drawings, Stephen Talasnik sculptures range in size from intimate to very large.  Examples of the latter include several outdoor, site specific installations: "Stream" 2010 and "Shackleton" 2012 both at Storm King Art Center, Mountainville, NY and "Floating World" at Denver Botanic Gardens, Denver, CO in 2012.*

* Catalogue available


The Washington Post
December 14, 2014, section E4

“In the Galleries / Playful perspectives on points of view"
by Mark Jenkins

Stephen Talasnik

Using nothing more than a hard pencil and soft paper, Stephen Talasnik constructs something like towers and trestles.   His drawings in “Linear Transformations, Structures of Questionable Origins” at the Marsha Mateyka Gallery, resemble architectural and machine-part renderings.   Yet they’re neither modeled on nor representative of actual things.   The New York artist was shaped by his childhood in a largely industrial neighborhood of Philadelphia, but he transforms those shipyards and refineries into something poetic and ethereal.

Talasnik doesn’t build up the drawings, but he does excavate them, digging into the paper with erasers and honed graphite tips.  This gives an engraved appearance to some of his pictures, which resemble etchings even though the sharpest thing that’s touched them is a pencil point.  Standouts such as the six-foot-high “Propellor” have a softer look, due to both the heavily worked paper and the range of rich grays.

Since 2001, the artist has been expanding his style into sculpture, assembled from wooden sticks bonded by gobs of clear polymer. (As in his drawings, Talasnik contrasts refined totalities with rough details.)  The 3-D works here suggest baskets as well as steel latticework, but the most striking one, “Leaning Tower”, is the least delicate.  The small wooden wall piece is coated with pulverized stone, giving it a monumental quality.  It’s as if Talasnik is signaling his readiness to stop engineering and start building.

Stephen Talasnik: Linear Transformations, Structures of Questionable Origins, On view through Dec. 20 at the Marsha Mateyka Gallery, 2012 R St. NW, 202 328-0088 www.marshamateykagallery.com

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