Tamara Abstraction

Tamara Abstraction

1945 (circa 1945-50)
Type: Painting / Oil with mixed media attachments on wood board

ES 46

In this work, the grain of the underlying plywood emerges in areas where Slobodkina has scraped away the gesso coating. This technique was inspired by the paintings of John Ferren, which she saw at the Museum of Living Art. She recalls: “I was rather intrigued by his use of plaster of Paris in his smaller works which were really more like bas-reliefs than anything else, since most of the effects were obtained by scooping out and scratching lines on the plaster…when I myself got involved with gesso, which after all is a form of plaster, I remembered his scratched out lines, and after a bit of experimentation, adopted them to my needs. Sometimes I used plywood instead of Masonite, which allowed me to scoop out whole areas of gesso, adding beautifully grained natural wood to the arsenal of my interesting surfaces” (Notes for a Biographer, Volume II, p.476). She also used this technique for “Levitator” (c.1950).This painting was titled in honor of Slobodkina’s sister and best friend, Tamara Schildkraut. “Originating as an abstracted still life with forms suggestive of a pitcher and musical instrument, this picture became a collage with the addition of strings and mica circles derived from some obscure electrical apparatus” (The Life and Art of Esphyr Slobodkina, Tufts University Art Gallery, 1992, p.27).

In Exhibit:

Dimensions: H: 19.5  W: 41.5   

Exhibition History:

Tufts show, 1992
Heckscher Show, 2008
Traveling Show, 2008-2010

Catalog #: SF_0018