For at least 15 years I have been making objects primarily with foam, paper and paint. My hand is evident throughout the work; imperfect cuts and blobs of glue are part of my signature.
I have always had an interest in mold-making, and kind sculptor friends have guided me through the process. Unfortunately, this interest was often short-lived, as the results of these experiments were small failures. The materials I chose to cast yielded generic results, and there was barely any evidence of my hand.
Still, I decided to focus my residency at Dieu Donné on pressing paper pulp into rubber molds to make cast paper objects. I chose a wide variety of low reliefs made of foam and paper, the materials I most commonly use, to create the molds in advance of my days on the wet floor. Finally the patterns for the molds showed my hand. Once my focus became clear, my studio collaborator Lisa Switalski and I got into a groove.
The materials provided for my use at Dieu Donne got me really jazzed up: colorful pulp paints, Ziploc bags full of brilliant abaca and cotton, shelves full of color-coordinated dry pigments including iridescents and neons.
I made paintings directly into the rubber mold by sprinkling in pigments, or mixing various colored paper pulps into a “cookie dough” and slapping that mix into the molds, and by squeezing pulp paints and brushing them into the mold. Meanwhile, Lisa would pull different colored sheets to line and pack the paintings into place. At the same time, she was advising me technically every step of the way.
Since I was working backward, or inside out, the painting was intuitive. I could come to a piece with a plan, or wing it and let my hands do the thinking. Either way, the results were always a surprise. But what I was looking for… the evidence of my hand was always there.
I am full of gratitude to Dieu Donné for giving me this tremendous experience. Thank you, Lisa, Bridget, Louisa, Amy, Paul and Kathleen for the support and enthusiasm.
— Tamara Zahaykevich, 2014
Tamara Zahaykevich lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. She received her BFA from the Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia.