Suburbia, 2016 (38x34cm) mixed media on aluminium
Tomasz Talaj is an Australian multi-disciplinary artist who embraces both traditional and contemporary art practices in his oeuvre. He was born in Redditch, UK in 1964 and moved to Australia with his family in the early 1970s where he studied at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, completing a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Industrial Design. Talaj has been twice finalist for the Waterhouse Natural Science Art Prize and his work was selected to feature in the foxtel series love my way starring Asher Keddie, Claudia Karvan, Ben Mendelsohn and Sam Worthington.
He is best known for his ethereal paintings of fabric and flowers, first exhibited at Eva Breuer Art Dealer in Sydney in 2004. These paintings provided an intimate, cropped view of their subject on an almost cinematic scale, at once arresting and expressive in their content and seductively immersive on another level.
He has also produced a substantial body of atmospheric paintings of clouds/landscapes suggestive of a personal or spiritual path undertaken in search of a higher truth that has always remained constant. This human endeavour has ultimately revealed quiet discoveries and transcendental experiences represented by the familiar orbs or glowing lights in his paintings. His practice is inextricably influenced by time spent in the great outdoors and on his many travels in Australia and abroad. Talaj provides the viewer with a glimpse of an 'otherworldly' phenomenon in recording the transience of the natural world. A meditation on human faith and experience, the works mirror his vulnerabilities and strengths, his hopes and dreams, his loves and losses, his fantasies and realities as well as revealing the uncertain and the absolute. All this has nurtured the imagination and intensified his respect for all things connected to place. It is in the state of becoming aware that this miracle takes place.
He is quite versatile in regards to his aesthetic strategies and works in a variety of media - oils, acrylics and watercolours, spray paintings, experimental marks (an area of his work which engages with the inherent nature of mark-making in contemporary drawing practices as well as creating specific tools to achieve those marks). His 'speedworks', where he demonstrates speed of execution using spraypaint, is where he is able to free himself more from the thought process of making art. Wedged between his controlling approach to painting and the spontaneous gesture of creating a mark, is where he is most comfortable. 'It is through the act of removing expectations of finished outcomes that things get a little more interesting and a whole lot of uncertainty begins to surface. One part of me wants to direct while another wants direction.'
Talaj has collaborated on projects with sound and video artist Jacques Soddell using large-scale pendulums, and with US airbrush specialists Alan Pastrana and Pamela Shanteau to create a suite of sensuous, richly coloured abstracted works reminiscent of the custom bike/car and surf cultures,
He has exhibited nationally and internationally and his work is held in numerous private collections worldwide.