When I was a child I occasionally found Mermaid’s Purses – egg cases for sharks and skates which had washed up on the beach. I wanted to open the purses, to find out if the leathery sacks actually contained a baby shark or not, but spent long minutes filled with anxiety about what I would see if I did. Would the fish still be alive? Would it squirm or move? Having destroyed its haven, could I really just stand there and watch the fetus die? Eventually such thoughts eclipsed all curiosity, and so I always put the purse back down on the sand and left it undisturbed.
In the past my work has held its secrets close, literally enclosed in the sculptural spaces created by curled fingers and closing hands… But now the hands are beginning to open, long sequestered thoughts and feelings finally examined and revealed. Fetus, fish, squid – the lifeless bodies of these creatures appear eerily animate, even grotesque out of context. Yet the hands that hold them nurture as much as they expose, fingers curving around the tiny forms, even as they lift them gently up into the light.
Tamara Lischka (Portland, OR) holds a BA from Reed College and has had solo exhibitions throughout Oregon including shows at Camerawork Gallery in Portland, Newport Visual Arts Center in Newport, and the Vollum Gallery at Reed College. Her images have been included in group shows at the Colorado Photographic Arts Center and the Frye Art Museum in Seattle, WA. She is represented by Galeria de Arte Fotographico in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, Gallery Sink in Denver, CO; and Graphistock in NYC and was recently featured in Lenswork and on the online publication Lens Culture. She is also included in the collections of the Portland Art Museum and Biblioteheque Nationale in Paris, France.