Tara Polansky

Artist Statement

Much of my work investigates the way memory functions, defining memory loosely to include events that we do not experience firsthand and people who we have never met but who are familiar to us. My work coalesces around photographic source imagery, ranging from my family photos that catalogue happy occasions like birthdays, weddings, and vacations, to images from newspapers and magazines. Ultimately, I am interested in the way portraits, which are intended to give insight, often render their subjects more anonymous and generic by idealizing them. I am concerned with the way nostalgia may encourage us to forget that the past included tragedy and struggle in addition to joy, and I raise questions about how we see, remember, and imagine.

In some work, I use fragmentation, erasure, and redrawing to consider what remains when people are absent; I focus on the tangible elements and physical spaces that withstand time, as people cannot. In other work, I examine the ways memories emerge. And yet in other bodies of work, I scrutinize objects that we use as metaphors for relationships and emotions.

Formally, I experiment with thick and thin, rough and smooth, solidity and fragility. At times using ceramics, photographs and computer technology, I produce images that vacillate between clarity and blurriness in order to encourage the viewer to ask questions that can never be answered definitively. I have experimented with a range of ceramic materials including industrial brick, stoneware, mid-range and high-fire porcelain. In addition, I use a variety of techniques to create works on paper.


Tara Polansky is an artist living and working in Columbus, Ohio. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in sociology and art from Hunter College of the City University of New York and studied ceramics as a post-­‐baccalaureate student at Kansas City Art Institute. Polansky earned a Master of Fine Arts at The Ohio State University in 2011, where she received several awards including a University Fellowship and an Alumni Grant for Graduate Research and Scholarship. She has done residencies with artisans in Mexico and Peru, at the International Ceramics Center in Hungary, at Belden Brick Factory in Sugar Creek, Ohio and at Project Art in Cummington, Massachusetts. Polansky’s work has been exhibited throughout the United States including in the 2011 NCECA Biennial at the Tampa Museum of Art and the 2012 NCECA Invitational at the Bellevue Arts Museum. Images of her work can be found in print in Lark Books’ 500 Vases, The Best of 500 Ceramics and most recently, 500 Prints on Clay. She currently teaches at Columbus College of Art & Design.