Tatyana Dickinson has lived with her husband Dave in Vernon, CT for the past 15 years. She has written and published a book Good morning after supper,this year. She is working on second book now, and hopes to publish it soon. She has shown at Arts Center East in 2016 and 2017.
My early training was as a wood carver and the focus of my work was making objects that combined wood and other materials. My early sculptures were either abstract forms or simple depictions of animals with no larger message involved. However, as I continued to make sculptures, my desire to tell a bigger story began to assert itself and I started looking for other methods to illustrate my ideas.
The message I am trying to convey through my work had gotten more political and much more difficult to portray as a simple carved animal. In recent years my style of production has diversified, and my art has become more personal and more overtly political. Most of the pieces I am now making are more complex and conceptual than my earlier work and have evolved into large, multi-media installations.
Over the past 30+ years, my work has explored social issues such as gender identification, environmental considerations, and what is beauty versus what is trash.
Early in my career, I created the “war bride” series. These pieces were made of war toys that I covered with ribbon, lace, and beads. Originally, the war brides were a way to explore gender identify and the place of women in society. The meaning of this work has become more complex with the 45th US president banning transgender people from the military. It investigates the glamour versus the reality of the military; the ideas of beauty and gender roles in the United States; and the place of women and transgender people in the military.
These works were made 35 years ago. They have been subjected to the decay natural to time which adds an originally untended grittiness to the work. My more recent work included The Aquatic Life Series and political portraits. These are not related except that they both investigate our disposable society and the degradation of the environment.
The Aquatic Life Series came out of my love for scuba diving and my deep concern about the environment and how much trash we generate.
I started diving in 2013 and fell in love with the ocean and its creatures. At the same time, I learned about how coral reefs are dying due to pollution and rising water temperatures. I chose to create representational fish art out of found objects and trash. These pieces reveal beauty and, sometimes, the terror of sea life. My intention is that my audience will not only see beauty and get joy from this work but will get a greater appreciation of and respect for our climate and the need to reduce the amount of trash we generate.
More recently, I began work on political portraits. These are fractured images of people who are or were the current presidential administration. Again, the media is found objects and daily debris generated by my household. When closely inspected, the viewer cannot see the image; it only appears when we step away. This reflects how we view our world –when quite close to something we may have a different impression than when we stand back. These portraits either represent the transformation of trash into something beautiful or horrific feeling that this administration is trashing the planet.