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Dream World

Summer 2016
Summer 2016
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Anna Tararova was born in Russia and currently lives in Cleveland, Ohio. She received an MFA in printmaking from Ohio University. Tararova is a printmaker, book artist, and papermaker and often teaches workshops on these subjects. She completed an artist residency at the Center for Book and Paper Arts at Columbia College Chicago, and worked as the Art-In-Ed resident at Women's Studio Workshop in Rosendale, New York. She has taught papermaking, printmaking, and photography classes to fourth- through twelfth-grade students at Circle Round the Square, a summer arts camp in Nelsonville, Ohio. Tararova exhibits her work internationally. Moonville was a small coal-mining town in southeastern Ohio. It was built along the tracks of the Marietta and Cincinnati Railroad in the middle of the least populated and most densely forested county in Ohio. Moonville was so isolated that people had to walk on the train tracks to get anywhere else. This led to many deaths and subsequent ghost stories. The town was abandoned in 1947, and the trains stopped running in the 80s. While in graduate school I often drove out a long, winding gravel road and hiked the overgrown trails to Moonville. Tilted electric poles and an enormous train tunnel cutting through a hill are the only traces of the ghost town. I found myself enjoying the role of an explorer, searching for evidence of another time in the Appalachian jungle. I examined the crumbling walls of the tunnel, covered in decades of graffiti, like in the caves of Lascaux.

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Climbing up and over the tunnel, I found traces of a forest fire, mushrooms, plants, and rock formations that mingled with old stories in my mind and formed into new narratives. At the time I was reading Mapping the Invisible Landscape by Kent C. Ryden, who writes about the ethereal features of landscape that shape our experience of physical place. He talks about unique cognitive maps created by people's minds that develop into our personal reality. Influenced by Ryden's writing, I began to create illustrations of the narratives my mind found in the landscape of Appalachian Ohio. Several years later I was working for a small studio making large sheets of colored abaca paper during the day and experimenting with scrap pulp in the evenings. One day I was looking through dusty boxes of paper scraps piled on the shelves and came across a beautiful sheet painted with transparent layers of blue pulp. Trying to recreate the effect, I played with the ratio of formation aid and water to achieve smooth, watercolor-like pulp paint. At night I dreamt about airy layers of overlapping pastel colors flowing over mountains and towns exposing the "invisible landscape." Wanting to capture these dreams, I screen printed my photographs and those of a fellow Appalachian enthusiast, Jacob Koestler, on pulp paintings Dream World anna tararova above: Bannerman Castle, New York, 2015, 19 x 22 inches, silkscreen on handmade paper, pulp painting. Produced at Women's Studio Workshop, Rosendale, New York. below: Window Jane Mine, Rosendale, New York, 2015, 22 x 19 inches, silkscreen on handmade paper, pulp painting. Produced at Women's Studio Workshop, Rosendale, New York. All photos courtesy of the artist. summer 2016 - 33 made from plants local to the places we photographed. By using fiber that was sourced locally, I created a physical connection to the narrative in each piece. After a move to Cleveland I began applying to artist residencies in order to expand my project as well as gain access to papermaking communities and equipment. This brought me to Women's Studio Workshop in upstate New York. I spent five weeks there, Hudson River, Poughkeepsie, New York, 2015, 19 x 22 inches, silkscreen on handmade paper, pulp painting. Produced at Women's Studio Workshop, Rosendale, New York. The Loop, Chicago, 2015, 19 x 22 inches, silkscreen on handmade paper, pulp painting. Produced at Columbia College Chicago Center for Book, Paper and Print, with support from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency. snow shoeing in the Catskills, following other people's footprints and animal trails, and taking pictures of abandoned castles and caves. The shapes created by snow-covered mountains and icy waters of the Hudson River reminded me of human body parts, which resonated with the ideas of the Future Feminists, a group of contemporary performance and visual artists and writers. In her spoken-word piece Future Feminism, Antony Hegarty talks about re-evaluating our relationship to nature: "It's a very indigenous idea that the Earth is a female, that the Earth menstruates, that the water of the world is the blood of a woman's body and that's what we crawled out of just in the same way that we crawled out of our mother's wombs." Antony's words are especially resonant in relation to the catastrophic results of climate change. Viewing the human body as an extension of the landscape can create a mutually beneficial community of all living things. I found a way to express these ideas in my work through papermaking. Using plant fiber allows me to work sustainably and contributes conceptually to my practice by creating a connection between subject and place. I developed this project further through a residency at the Center for Book and Paper Arts in Chicago. I went to the city looking for the same notions of history that initially inspired the work, but I found myself wandering around the streets overwhelmed by how quickly a history's visual presence can be wiped away by new developments and morphing neighborhoods. I decided to focus my work on interpersonal relationships and seek out a narrative in the crowds that surrounded me everywhere I went. I have plans to expand my project internationally to Russia and Mexico, as well as to continue exploring the United States in order to capture more stories of "invisible landscapes" and express the urgent need for our culture to reconnect with nature.