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STEPHEN
TOMASKO

Akron, Ohio, USA
website

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ARTIST STATEMENT


Collage, for me, harnesses contemporary and historic nonsense, noise, and madness to say things not easily said. Things, perhaps, only visually able to be said. My job is to distill mountains of cultural and personal imagery into something new. Sometimes orderly, sometimes graceful, other times messy and loud, the work speaks both to us and about us. The best utilizes culture’s stuff to rise above that very same stuff. In this way, it performs a sort of magic, coaxing victory over the mundane from the mundane itself. And, if done extraordinarily well, it can be both deeply insightful and achingly beautiful.

I love that I can use a variety of skills on any given work. My deep knowledge of materials and practices as both an artist and an art historian all come into play. My teetering pile of collected source material, a great mix of the high and low culture, leads the work each day. Sometimes it is terrifying because this process of inspiration through interaction seems so undefined and ephemeral that it feels like it could easily slip away and be gone for good. So I find it works best to make the work with great care and precision but also keep it from becoming too precious. And when it all comes together, the best work takes on a life of its own, revealing truths about who we are and from where we have come

ARTIST BIO


For over thirty years, Stephen Tomasko has been creating photographs, collages, mail art, drawings, and paintings about the American experiment, examined through the dissection of its history, life, and landscape. In his practice, high and low culture continually collide. Examples of his work are held in permanent collections throughout the world, including the Smithsonian Institution Archives of American Art in Washington, DC., Museum Schloss Moyland, Bern, Switzerland, the Karuizawa New Art Museum, Japan, and the Akron Art Museum, Akron, Ohio. Recent shows include ‘Stephen Tomasko— Loyal To The Lot’, the inaugural solo exhibition of the Paul Brown Museum at MassMu, Massillon, Ohio, ‘A Book About Death’ at the Islip Art Museum, Long Island, New York, ‘Mother Tongue’ at the Griffin Museum of Photography gallery in Boston, Massachusetts, and ‘Stephen Tomasko—Historic Figures’ at Snow College in Ephraim, Utah.

Tomasko serves as the director of the Little Gallery at Bowling Green State University, Huron, Ohio, and is the selection committee chair for the AST artist grant and residency program in Ohio. Stephen is the recipient of an Individual Excellence Award and grant from the Ohio Arts Council. He presented an artist talk as part of the first FRONT International Triennial at the Akron Art Museum and a monograph of his work, 'Delira + Excira', was published by the Shanti Arts Press. He holds a BA in Art History from Bowling Green State University and an MFA from the University of Delaware. He currently lives and works in Bath, Ohio.
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