Stephen Tuomala is showing a recent series of drawings at Fe Gallery in Lawrenceville. A permanent Gesture is a striking exhibit. The space lends itself to the large-scale work, providing enough room for the works to breathe and to be able to take the work in completely.
The works, regardless of scale, are created on bible pages. For the larger works, this means attaching the individual pages into expansive, wall-sized sheets. The smaller works are made from single interleaves and pages. Is that the correct term? When you disassemble a book, groups of printed pages are folded in half and sewn. So, you are looking at two pages on each sheet. (and aside: I find bookmaking fascinating.) I am not sure which bible edition Mr. Tuomala used for this exhibit, but the paper is beautiful and the volume must have been oversized, but not as large as a quarto volume would be.
As the name of the exhibit implies, the works are very gestural. The starkness of raw ink is counterbalanced by the texture of the printed word, lending subtle shadings to the deeper ink-covered areas and providing texture in the untouched areas. Mr. Tuomala shows a very expressive hand in these drawings, from the smallest to the largest. It was also intriguing to see the smaller works alongside their large-scale counterparts. Many of the smaller works looked like they could be studies, and gave a hint at the process of developing the figures for the larger works.
I think I'll leave this here. From the show description:
A Permanent Gesture is focused around Christian ideas of the Rapture. These large scale drawing installations depict juxtapose contemporary imagery as metaphors for the theoretical Rapture events.
From a thematic standpoint, I don't really think I can add anything to this succinct statement. There is a lot of implied violence in the works, and it supports the violence implicit in the biblical cycle of the Rapture.
The exhibit is up through March 3, and luckily the gallery has regular hours. If you really want a chance to find out more about Stephen Tuomala and the works in A Permanent Gesture, Fe is hosting a gallery talk on Thursday, February 21. There's a good chance I'll be there for the artist talk. I do have some questions.
Stephen Tuomala: A Permanent Gesture
February 1 - March 3, 2013
Thursday, February 21
Fe Gallery | 4102 Butler Street, Pittsburgh PA 15201 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Thursday – Friday: 4 – 8 pm Saturday: 12 – 6 pm Sunday: 12 – 4 pm