Leah Tacha’s unconventional approach to ceramics makes use of ancient craft techniques as well as recent digital and technological printmaking innovations. These works are meticulously made by hand and exude a certain wobbly touch, and yet are decidedly high-tech, deploying a concoction of found digital imagery in the form of decals. Decals were used in the early 20th century (and still are today), to create mass produced ceramic tablewares, items one might find at a local big box store. Tacha’s use of decals creates an entirely different surface to the clay, integrating illusionistic space with physical form.
The artist likes to think of her sculptures as conduits for visual materials to inhabit. Each piece becomes a way for her to translate imagery through collage onto a three-dimensional object where the clay and glaze allows for a blistering, beautiful materiality to emerge from the surface. As in the works of John Chamberlain, Tacha’s sculptures are objects in space around which a viewer can move, but they also have specifically frontal views, presenting separate pictorial, even painterly, worlds in which to enter.
The artists prepared for this exhibition with a sense of overwhelming joy and excitement, feelings that accompanied her learning about becoming pregnant again. When the pregnancy was lost, Tacha used her practice as a way to process the pain and move forward with a new sense of hope and the desire to be absolutely present in a capricious world. She found meaning in meditating on the simple act of rolling slabs, drawing repetitious lines on a collage, and scoring clay to make each piece come together. During this time, Tacha thought about the objects and textures we surround ourselves with for comfort and how we create in order to heal. The works in this exhibition became an expression of an artist’s desire to hold herself together – a thing to be.
Leah Tacha (b. 1984, Lawrence, KS) lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. She received her BFA in Painting from The Cleveland Institute of Art in 2007 and her MFA from SUNY Purchase College in 2009. Her first solo exhibition in NY was curated by Jon Lutz at Sardine in Brooklyn, NY in 2014 and she had another solo show curated by Lutz at 106 Green Gallery in 2016. She has shown with Young Space, Underdonk, SSD (Shrine & Sargent’s Daughters), Deanna Evans Projects, Daily Operation, RARE Gallery, New Baroque, and the Torrance Art Museum, among many others. In 2015 she was awarded the Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop SIP Fellowship. In 2017 she was awarded a Windgate Fellowship from the Archie Bray Foundation. Her most recent solo exhibition was curated by Jen Wroblewski at Gold/Scopophilia* in Montclair, NJ.