Natural Tree and Metal Sculpture Installation in Northeastern Kansas

I was riding my mountain bike on a certain series of trails in Northeastern Kansas this past summer, getting lost in the forest - which by the way is one of my favorite things. On one wrong turn I ended up finding quite a pleasant surprise. I had recently been studying sculpture in college, and on this wrong turn I saw a series of very old, rusted, metal automobile frames. The forest must have grown up around these hunks of metal, or just consumed them over the decades. Some of them were literally sunken into the trees and raised off of the ground, hanging in the air. The trees made them a part of themselves over the years. So being someone recently fascinated by studying sculpture, I thoroughly enjoyed this "found art". In fact it still is one of the best sculpture "installations" I have ever seen. You can't recreate decades of natural growth reclaiming and consuming man-made machines.

Acrylic Painting on Canvas - Crow over the Kaw River by Ed Tajchman

This is a painting I made in early 2015, it is a crow on a branch sitting over the Kaw River. The inspiration came from an early 19th century photo I found online depicting a design painted on a Haida canoe oar. In many folklore traditions the crow or raven is an animal that can pass between worlds easily, transform into other animals, or is a form that shamans often take. This symbolism is also applied to the river, which can represent a passage through time with two worlds on either side of the river.

Crow over the Kaw River, acrylic on canvas, Ed Tajchman 2015 ©.

Meditation on My Time in the Kaw River Valley of Kansas, and The Coming Departure

     My dad was a farmer who grew up in the depression in Kansas, with his older brothers who may or may not have participated in a small bit of bootlegging. His dad was a farmer in Kansas. My great grandparents came from Czech. I have always felt intensely connected to this Kansas landscape in which I still find myself. Even when I traveled, I still felt the intense pull to be "back home" which to me means the flowing flat landscape of endless earth matched with endless sky; the intense, wind driven landscape that is Kansas. Summer-times in my childhood I would travel often to and from Northeastern Kansas and Wichita, Kansas. To this day some of my favorite memories are looking out the window in the backseat, talking to the moon at night, and gazing at endless fields of wheat, flowing in the heavy Kansas wind; it was the closest thing I knew to an ocean.

Northeastern Kansas Farm Field, Late September After Harvest. Photo by Ed Tajchman ©.
     I have lived near the Kaw River Valley in Lawrence, KS for about eight years now and will be leaving this place soon. About five years ago I got a mountain bike and began riding so I could get in shape. I lost seventy pounds and discovered a connection with nature.  I discovered forest trails in the river valley, rode across beautiful land with turkey buzzards, hawks, deer, coyotes, foxes, and an endless amount of grasshoppers. Part of my rides I would ride on a flat trail enjoying the changing fields of corn and soybeans through the seasons; other parts were spent playing in the forest. During this time I photographed this spot multiple times of day and multiple seasons. Someday maybe I will make a Monet like series of paintings about it.

"Heart of Atlantis" - Wood, Bone, and Steel Sculpture by Ed Tajchman

This is the headpiece to my latest sculpture I call "Heart of Atlantis". Carved wood and cow bone, carved circuit boards and electronic pieces, kyanite gems, antler and misc. The welded steel torso needs a little work but I am really proud of this part of it. The goal was to create something between animal, gasmask, and cyborg. Like even the animals are going to be wearing gas masks soon, and/or be part mechanical.
Wood, bone, and steel sculpture by Ed Tajchman (detail)

"I am the Arm" Painting by Ed Tajchman

     David Lynch is one of, if not my all time favorite artists. And one of my favorite works of his is the movie "Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me". The more surreal aspects of the movie are what attracted me - the log lady, the mystical elongated man, the one-armed man, and especially the sequences at the end inside the black lodge. Lynch defines this vision with elements like the red curtain, the black and white floor, the music, the way the figures move unnaturally, lurching and phasing in and out. This is exactly the kind of fearless, psyche driven, haunting and boundary expanding sort of work that I live to take in.

     I was also blown away by Lynch's ability to weave abstract, dream-like symbolism into the film - like that the evil part of the one-armed man still resides in the black lodge in the visual form of a little person (appropriately enough), who dances slow and strangely; and talks like a backwards tape recorder. I still often think about that last aspect particularly, the strange way "the arm" talks in the dream sequences and at the end - it is creepy and strange in a way that a real nightmare would be. It's hard to capture the conscious sensation of an actual dream in an art form, but Lynch does it better than anyone - again and again.

"I am the Arm" painting by Ed Tajchman

Wood and Cast Metal Sculpture by Ed Tajchman - "Jezinka"

This is the latest sculpture from myself (Ed Tajchman) It is made from Cedar and Atlantis wood, carved cow and buffalo bone, cast aluminum. It's called "Jezinka" which is from the word "Yaga", which in modern Czech translates to "wicked wood nymph, dryad". The idea behind it was my take on a Baba Yaga shack. Baba Yaga is an old Slavic myth about a witch who lives in the woods in a shack that travels around on chicken feet. The bones represent those of her victims, but if you approach with caution she might offer a boon. The piece evolved into more of a totemic embodiment of Baba Yaga.

"Jezinka" by Ed Tajchman
"Jezinka" by Ed Tajchman (rear view)

Prose from December 2015: Endings and Beginnings

Endings and beginnings haunt the chamber.
turning the fragments over, were they even ever interwoven?
you can make yourself believe through timidity and angst that they were
receding into the noiselessness now, and the empty halls remain.

Preludes and epilogues reveal the sender.
first night in this house when a plague of dreams beleaguered.
chief among the eidolons, a skeleton pharaoh unable -
to rise from his underground asylum
- impenetrable palisade; his immutable and sacrosanct enclosure.

Departures and arrivals in a river of mirrors.
tall windows in the top of the castle tower, i just had to unlatch them
frustration like sweat in the eye - stings, pulls at the edges with a tentacles grip,
the fingers slip and the psyche shifts.
white snakes with orange stripes before a river - uneasily in the tension
waiting for the crossing
gather the choices folded into dice - into a cup tossing.

Inceptions and cessations begin in the earth and wash into the ocean.
no place at the table anymore, get packing.
if you see, please keep space for a passing recondite like me
- but I no longer expect it; am I zachariah in the tree?
easter pants got muddy playing in the street, animal child free.
keeping the ears turned, still looking for the fading beat.

Initiations and eggresions dissolving the boundaries.
my nakedness no longer alarms me, be what is raw is much more easily.
jump the gateways with a childhood ease.
these eyes no longer belie what is revealed beneath every existence.
happening always now, all the moments in unison -
to be a breaker between the stratums, not all that it is cracked the corn
to be.

-E Tajchman Dec. 2015

Kansas Horizons and the Windy Ocean Ride

      Living in Kansas, one thing there is a lot of is wide open sky and flat land. Below is a picture from one of my long bike rides in northeastern Kanas. By bike I mean bicycle, a mountain bike really but I use it on the road a lot. Being between earth and sky, feeling the wind push and pull you, which is a constant daily moving force in the Kaw River Valley; gives one a feeling of connection with the earth. A peace found in the spirit and body, a kind of calm as you look over the horizon and see nothing but endless earth and endless sky. I have felt this same feeling being in the ocean and looking at the horizon, and feeling the waves push and pull. Here it is the wind that pushes and pulls, and the ocean in any direction is at least 12 hours away.
      I used to fight the wind when I started taking long bike rides, foolishly cursing and shaking my fist at it as if it would respond or correlate to such a small meaningless being like myself. The wind does not listen to me or anyone else, it is a great equalizer. It's ever shifting invisible energy pouring over every animal in the same degree, more or less, depending on where you stand on the earth in any given moment. In Ken Burns' film about The Dust Bowl (which ravaged farmland with endless tidal waves of dust and wind in the 1930's) they speak of this same kind of - bending one's self to the will of the wind, the wind will of course never bend it's will to yours, thus the wind is the great equalizer.

"For what is it to die, But to stand in the sun and melt into the wind,"
-Kahil Gibran 

Photo: Ed Tajchman 2015, © all rights resrved.

Drawing, "Chicken Thing in a Bear Mask" by Ed Tajchman

Edward Tajchman's "Chicken Thing in a Bear Mask". As I am preparing for the fall semester this summer, (I went back to college a year or so ago), I have been contemplating what kind of concepts and forms I want to create for my second semester of sculpture. I spent a long time running away from education and focusing on my own approach to art. Well, I must say studying sculpture has made me fall in love with art all over again. So, being in heavy brainstorming mode, one of  the front running sketchbook entries to possibly be made into a large sculpture this fall is this guy. A chicken type creature with a long neck and a bear mask on. The shape and texture of chicken and turkey feet (and other similar bird feet) have always fascinated me for some reason. Maybe it's because you can see the link between lizards, dinosaurs and modern birds. Scraps of ancient DNA still present in our world today.

Edward Tajchman © all rights reserved. "Chicken Thing in a Bear Mask"

"If one cannot catch a bird of paradise, better take a wet hen." -Nikita Khrushchev