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 Joanna Tlok  (20/21st century)

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Lived/Active: Michigan / Poland      Known for: glass, fabric

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Biography from Eclectic Art & Objects Gallery:

Initiation into art, and the life of a career artist, came to Joanna Tlok through a series of chance events.  Her first experience in art-making came when she was seven years old.  At the time, it was popular in her native Poland for children to keep diaries, to which their friends would make contributions.  When asked to add to such a diary that one of her friends was keeping, Joanna’s mother helped her compose a floral design to go with the note she composed.  This activity so engaged Joanna that it launched a life of creative work.

It took several more years, however, for the ambition of being a professional artist to take hold.  At the point when Poles finish primary school and have to choose a specialized secondary school which might determine their lifelong career path, Tlok still did not even know art was a possibility for her.  Coming from a smaller town, she had no exposure to professional artists and knew nothing of art education at the secondary and college levels.  This is when pure coincidence once again entered the scene: During a brief hospitalization her mother had a roommate who was related to a student attending art school, and this chance meeting gave Joanna the direction she needed to get formal training in visual arts.

After years of work as a professional artist and a teacher in Poland,  Tlok immigrated to the United States with her husband, Marek, and their children, where she has begun her career with a new audience.  While Tlok’s paintings are figurative, color and light are, in fact, her true subject matter.  Her two main vehicles for helping us appreciate these elements are her depictions of glass and fabric.  She is always impressed with the play of light and shadow on the surface and interior of glass vessels and with the way shape and color are affected when glass overlaps.  In her examinations of fabric, Tlok finds gratification in bringing us uncommon studies of the commonplace.  Fabric is so ubiquitous and plays such a huge role in everyday life that people seldom take the time to appreciate its visual qualities and its interplay with light. This is what Tlok shows to us by making simple fabric the subject of thoughtful painting, and she hopes that her work will encourage people to notice the beauty of simple things in their everyday surroundings.


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