IN COMBINING DOLLHOUSE-SIZE DIORAMA SETS AND LIVE-MODEL PHOTOS, RICHARD TUSCHMAN BRANDS A NEW FORM OF MIXED MEDIA
BY EVAN MONROE
Mixed media artwork is certainly as old as the first hand-hewn tiles painted and assembled onto stone memorials, and likely thousands of years older still. Defined by arthistory.net as “a work of art that embodies more than one medium,” mixed media jumped into the avant garde with such 20th century works as Still Life with Chair Caning (1911-1912) by Pablo Picasso, Blue Nude II (1952) by Henri Matisse, and Just What Is It That Makes Today’s Homes So Different, So Appealing? (1956) by Richard Hamilton.
Richard Tuschman, through his experimentation with digital imaging that began in the early 1990s, has developed a unique style that synthesizes photography, painting, and assemblage. He has been widely exhibited, including at last year’s Poetic Storytelling Workshop in Naples, Italy, and a 2014 group show at the LensCulture Exposure Awards in London, UK. He’s garnered awards from Prix de la Photographie Paris (Gold Medal and People’s Choice) and the International Kontinent Awards (1st Place for Fine Art Projects), and was last year’s Clarence John Laughlin Award finalist for the series, “Once Upon A Time In Kazimierz” (an example of which is seen here)—a photographic novella portraying an episode in the life of a fictional Jewish family living in Krakow, Poland in 1930.
Regarding “Kazimierz,” Tuschman explained a unique process in which he first designs and builds dollhouse-size diorama sets, then photographs costumed models against a plain backdrop. The process concludes by combining set photographs and model shots in Photoshop. Final images are printed at sizes from 40 to 60 inches in diameter.
“I think of it as an open-ended novella told in still photographs,” Tuschman said. “It’s my attempt to visually weave together narrative fiction with strands of both cultural history and family history, while paying homage to painters I love, like Vermeer, Rembrandt, van Gogh, and de Chirico. I love creating these small environments, but it’s laborintensive; I’ve been working on the sets for this project for close to two years.”
Selections from both “Once Upon A Time In Kazimierz” and an earlier and similarly-processed series, “Hopper Meditations,” are on exhibit at Klompching Gallery in Dumbo.
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