The figures of Tacha Vosburgh stand as sentinels to stories of people that have never happened, but are always happening. They are portraits of no one in particular, but of everyone. The artist is reaching for that strange, but somehow familiar place that we long to connect with, that place of grounding that we know about if we just take the time to remember. “There is a universality in these figures,” Tacha explains. “People recognize something vaguely familiar about them. We have always used myth to explain ourselves.This series is like a myth. With each interpretation, it gets retold and re-crafted through time.”
Each figure is individually made by hand from earthenware clay. The artist’s friends pose as her models. Their expression is idealized to convey the inner strength they possess. Some forms are thrown on the potter’s wheel and altered. Some forms are constructed from slabs and coils of clay. The pieces are dried very slowly before being bisque fired.
The bisque ware is airbrushed with solutions of copper and iron sulfates and placed in a saggar with seaweed, wood chips or other organic material. Fired for a second time in a gas kiln, the ware is literally painted with the flame of the fire and the fumes of the volatile salts and marked by the direct contact with the organic materials.
The desert dryness has inspired many artists throughout the centuries. Tacha constructs her human figures with concern for the places we inhabit mentally and spiritually. But on an environmental note, Tacha has been absorbed by our animal companions, and has been sculpting life-like lizards. “Living in the desert with my lizards have inspired me,” notes Tacha. “I really enjoy sculpting their intricate yet vulnerable features. Her iguana, Isabella, earns her keep by acting as model and muse as she poses for Tacha’s prolific lizard series. “There’s no secret trick,” Tacha admits, “Iguanas typically stay in one place without moving for a long time.”
Currently, the lizards can be found on both decorative and functional pieces. They are featured alone or are capriciously perched on pots, bowls or plates.
“Living in Arizona, watching the delicate environment disappear is alarming. I am devoted to sculpting these vulnerable creatures in hopes that we might have a heightened awareness of their innocent primitive selves and what we are doing with our Earth.”
For Tacha, life was exciting even before it included scales, claws, feathers and beaks. A gifted ceramic sculptor, with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Maine College of Art, Tacha Vosburgh has had studios in Brazil and Key West, Florida. Her works have been shown and collected in over 150 galleries throughout the United States and Europe. She spends summers in New England where her works are shown in several galleries while for six months out of the year Tacha lives in Arizona, finding the imagery and aesthetics of the Superstition Mountains to be conducive to her creativity. Her art evokes the magic of both the natural and the supernatural world.