Roland Poska: Deckle Edge

09.15.2018 - 11.03.2018

Jerald Melberg Gallery

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Jerald Melberg Gallery is proud to introduce the work of acknowledged master paper maker Roland Poska (1938-2017) in Deckle Edge, a solo exhibition of paintings, sculptures and prints. This will be Poska’s first exhibition in North Carolina and will include over thirty works from his four-decade career. The Gallery is publishing a full color catalogue with an essay by Grace Cote to accompany this exhibition, available digitally at https://cld.bz/imwAowu and in print at the Gallery or by mail.  Jerald Melberg Gallery is the exclusive representative of the Estate of Roland Poska.

Poska was a pioneer in the field of printmaking and papermaking and sought to extend and break the boundaries of his chosen medium. He landed on what he called “Papestries” or paper tapestries, which are featured in this exhibition.

His process involved preparing five-gallon buckets of moist cotton fibers mixed with pure powdered pigment to achieve his desired color palette. The texture of the paper pulp varied in consistency from apple sauce to bread dough. He laid handfuls onto plastic sheeting and added elements such as handmade sliced forms and coils. After drying, Poska would flip the panel over and reveal a flattened yet technicolor abstract composition. He would then assess and sometimes alter the surface by adding more pulp, peeling away or overpainting. A sizable work could take up to six months to complete. Many works consist of multiple panels with intentionally rough and unrefined edges, a nod to the signature deckled edges of handmade paper. Late in his career, he grew his oeuvre to include large sculptures, called Sentinels, made with a similar process. These were formed into three dimensional free-standing columns before completely drying.

Roland Poska was born in Scotland in 1938 and immigrated to Rockford, Illinois when he was a child. He received degrees from Rockford College and Cranbrook Academy of Art, where he was introduced to the mechanics of paper making. He later cofounded the Milwaukee School of Art and Design and taught there while simultaneously running a lithography print studio, Fishy Whale Press. 

His work was the subject of over thirty solo exhibitions in his lifetime, including the Rockford Art Museum, Rockford Illinois; Midwest Museum of Art, Elkhart, Indiana; Milwaukee Art Museum and The Neville Public Museum, Green Bay, Wisconsin. His works are included in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Fine Art in New York, the Art Institute of Chicago and the Milwaukee Art Museum.