Paul Tamanian is an intrepid experimenter, beginning as a ceramist; he now works exclusively with metals. Always unique in his range of styles, his pieces demonstrate his evolution as an artist. An examination of his work over the past ten years reveals movement from small, slab built vases to larger organic forms, such as his highly successful “Tusks.” His works became more sculptural rather than nominally utilitarian. The one constant over the years has been his emphasis on surface. As appealing as his shapes are, they serve primarily as “canvases” for a captivating variety of finishes…industrial fabric dyes, traditional glazes, automobile paints and odd assorted chemicals that alter texture and color, producing a constantly evolving collection of surfaces and styles.
Tamanian’s progression out of ceramics began several years ago when he started using his distinctive techniques on two-dimensional surfaces, primarily heavy watercolor paper and illustration board. Initially he experimented with inks, paints and other chemicals that he would stumble upon. There was a time when he could be found outside his studio-in-the-woods, garden hose in hand, spraying water on a set of “in progress” paintings. From those early “hose and ink” paintings, Tamanian moved to working on metal, aluminum becoming the preferred surface. He now produces not only two-dimensional paintings on metal, but large, three-dimensional, painted aluminum sculptures. These works, some as large as ten feet, are expressive abstract designs, brilliantly colorful, with a mixture of organic and geometric shapes.