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Q&A with Award Winner Tatyana Schremko

Sweet Vidalia, carved maple by Tatyana Schremko
Sweet Vidalia, carved maple by Tatyana Schremko

If you’ve been to the Torpedo Factory, you probably remember seeing sculptures like the one above in the studio of sculptor Tatyana Schremko, towering over you at seven feet tall. Standing at a less formidable 14 inches and carved from maple, Schremko’s Sweet Vidalia won the Bertha G. Harrison Award for Figurative Sculpture in this month’s all-media show at The Art League, open through January 6.

We asked the artist to tell us more about her sculpture’s signature form, her creative process, and how this piece came to be named for an onion.

You create sculptures in bronze, paper, wood, and even ice — what do you like about wood as a material? Why did you choose to use maple for this piece? Why is this piece named after an onion?
Tatyana Schremko: I work in wood because that is the material I can use to make very tall sculptures without the great expense of a foundry to have it in bronze. Although those sculptures can be cast in bronze at any time.

As far as the maple wood “onion,” I was trying out the gentle luminosity of the maple — the onion created itself by being deliciously rounded at the bottom, and the skin frilling as if being peeled, and ending with a new shoot on the top. It was merely a form I made, and then I called it an “onion.”

Tatyana Schremko
Tatyana Schremko’s 2006 solo exhibit at The Art League, “Echo in the Forest.” The tall sculptures, 6–7 feet tall, are carved from lindenwood, and the three sculptures mounted on the wall are paper castings.

This shape appears in a lot of your sculptures. Why this shape, what does it mean to you?
The gentle, elongated shape reminds me of shadows and whispering wind. There is a longing and a soothing at the same time.  The lines create a balance and a dance.

What’s your creative process like?
Ideas are in everything I see, hear, and smell — from holes in the cement in the crosswalk to salty sea breezes. Sometimes these want to be expressed in wood — other times in other media.

What are you working on now?
Now I am undertaking a project of five to seven forms, resembling my tall wood sculptures, but made in paper and expressing the fragility of humanity.

Tatyana Schremko 2
A view of the “onion’s” rounded bottom and sprout-like top.

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