Stephen Talasnik


Artist Statement

Everything begins with the act of drawing, my primary studio investigation for the past 35 years. It is the means to explore visionary landscape and invented organic objects. My linear sculpture serves as manifestations of two dimensional environments. All sculpture is built by hand without measurement; a process that prevents the act of a precisionist from interfering with instinctual construction. The skeletal language of construction provides the viewer clues to assembly; they are drawings designed to serve as architecture.

With little formal training in drawing beyond figure and nature study at RISD, my education in 3D was fostered by years of studying indigenous construction throughout the Far East, where I lived and worked over a 15 year period.  The sculptures --- intimate or monolithic--- start with a single stick or drawn line and organically grow into complex grids or framework. I build without plan or power tools and the product resides in an arena of the “unfinished” but complete. This aspiration to preserve the unfinished is a means to seduce the viewer into the act of “making”. All work encapsulates a sense of the hand or touch; joints are the most important part of the visual vocabulary as they disclose the means towards assembly. The work is required to embrace simplicity of assembly and variable repetition. It suggests the complexity of a dysfunctional architecture, a multitude of  rectilinear assembly that explores the visual poetry of infrastructure.

About the Artist

Originally from Philadelphia, Talasnik is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design and the Tyler School of Art; Rome and Philadelphia campuses. Intrigued with intuitive building as a child, he used toothpicks and Elmer’s glue to recreate scale models of roller coasters from Hershey Park. Attracted to the architecture of space exploration and the aesthetics of aerodynamics he was seduced by black and white images of the early NASA missions that would inform his work over a lifetime of building and drawing.

He divides his time between drawing and sculpture, from intimate objects to large-scale monolithic installations. His earliest ephemeral structures were built at the Storm King Art Center (2010), Japan Society, 2008 (NYC), and the Denver Botanical Garden (2012) where he constructed a city of some 40 floating sculptures. His more recent indoor pieces were done at the Tippet Rise Art Center in Montana and Architecture Gallery Berlin, hand built woven habitats that explore the relationship between installation and performance art.

Exhibiting internationally, Talasnik’s works are in the collections of the Pompidou (Paris); the Albertina (Vienna); the British Museum, (London), and the Metropolitan Museum of Art (NYC) to name a few. His most recent monograph, published by the Monacelli Press is a 210 page survey covering his drawings, sculpture, and installations from the past 8 years. 

Photo Credits: Don Pollard, Stephen Talasnik