Tatiana Potts: Topophilia

*Full captions for slideshow images are listed below.

Printmaking exhibition in a combination of engraving, lithographic, and serigraphic printing techniques

When: August 12 - September 5, 2015
Where: 2nd Floor Gallery, Owen Hall
Opening Reception: Friday, August 21, 6-8:00 p.m.
Gallery Hours: 9 a.m.-6:00 p.m., Monday-Friday
Artist Lecture: Wednesday, September 2, 12:30-1:20 p.m.
Both events are free and open to the public.

Tatiana Potts, MFA Candidate and Graduate Teaching Assistant at the University of Tennessee Knoxville, returns to her alma mater (Class of 2012, BFA with concentration in printmaking) to exhibit a series of prints that incorporates lithographic, silkscreen, and engraving techniques. She has collated one set into a hand-bound book in a method reminiscent of manuscripts of earlier days of printmaking.

Potts combines two or more images of architecture and decorative architectural details, which when viewed from different angles create an illusion of imaginary three-dimensional spaces including some that are populated with figures. Through the inclusion of the architectural details as well as figures, she can revisit in her mind the places that she has experienced and, thus, has developed a sense of place that is personal.  The composition, however, is open to different interpretations based on the viewers’ perception of what is being observed. In addition, the composition contains bold shapes of shadows that are either directly correlated to the three-dimensional place or detached and standing on their own creating their own plane, space, or place. The title of the exhibition, Topophilia, is formed "from Greek topos "place" and -philia, "love of" and [as defined by Wikipedia is] a strong sense of place, which often becomes mixed with the sense of cultural identity among certain peoples and a love of certain aspects of such a place." To read more about Potts and her process, visit her website.

Artist Statement:

“Literature and painting induce an awareness of place by holding up mirrors to our own experience; what had been felt can now be seen, what was formless and vacillating is now framed and still.” — Dr. Yi-Fu-Tuan (philosopher, author, and Emeritus Professor of Geography at University of Wisconsin—Madison).

The source of inspiration for my prints comes from my family and my experiences while traveling in Europe and the United States. The experience that provides the sense of place is depicted via inclusion of various spaces with cues of place represented by architecture and architectural details. A new space emerges by juxtaposition of spaces as well as their overlap.  I use printmaking processes to depict our experiences and sense of place. Growing up in Slovakia I was surrounded by architecture from as early as the 14th century up to modern. When I arrived in the United States, I realized how quickly the experiences of immediate environment change because the buildings are demolished and new ones take their place. I felt a sense of loss because it had changed and there were no more reminders of the building’s representation. It was more difficult to recall a sense of original place. I feel a need to maintain, document, reinvent, and revive that experience in notion of creating my own. While creating these spaces, I am also interested in creating various pathways, passages represented by portals such as windows, doors, and open areas with deep perspective. I hope to encourage a viewer to move through the space and experience it too.

In the most recent work, Five Orders, I researched the Classical Five orders of architecture with focus on columns. I combined lithography, engraving, and silkscreen printing to create compositions and bound them into the form of a book, more precisely a manuscript. My choice of column has a dual meaning: a support element in architecture and, for me, a metaphor, a support for my family.

Some illustrations are accompanied by poems that refer to experience and Five Orders (Greek and Roman columns: Doric, Ionic, Corinthian, Composite, and Tuscan).

          Familiar spaces
          everyday places
          recall spaces
          dreamy places
          abandoned spaces
          rebuilt places.
          Where was I?
          Where am I?
          Where will I be?
          Will I remember?
          Will I forget?
          I will record, preserve,
          and make it everlasting.

—Tatiana Potts, August 2015.

Full Captions for Topophilia

1. Photograph of the Artist, Tatiana Potts, holding her manuscript, Five Orders.

2. Let's Explore, a spread from the book, Five Orders, 22x30 inches, lithography, serigraphy, engraving, 2014. (image with girl walking a dog and decorative column)

3. "C" for Corinthian and Dance with Me, a spread from the book, Five Orders, 22x30 inches, lithography, serigraphy, engraving, 2014. ("C" and statue of pair dancing)

4. Pulling In, a spread from the book, Five Orders, 22x30, lithography, serigraphy, engraving, 2014. (two people in canoe and engraving)

5. Every Nook I Go, 30x40 inches, lithography, serigraphy, 2014. (drawing with two big bugs on top)

6. Biking, a spread from the book, Five Orders, 11x15 inches, lithography, serigraphy, engraving, 2014. (a girl on the bike)