Natalie Tkachuk's work is an exploration through the medium of photography, where she tries to find beauty in the everyday and in the lost and forgotten. So many treasured items are lost such as books and letters, and Natalie Tkachuk tries to bring these lost and forgotten objects back to life by looking at them from an alternative angle creating new objects from the abstract forms.
Her recent body of work ‘Totems’ are constructed machines abstracted from their original purpose and functions becoming a collection of past technologies and a collection of the non-functional. The juxtaposition of mechanical elements build a totemic sculptural object, suspended in space becoming a scale-less catalogue of the industrial past.
The re-appropriation of these hybrid apparatuses/pre-existing materials leads us to question their use and to see them as a new machine. These creations are reminiscent of something from another world; they have been collected, deconstructed and reconstructed. The monumentalness of these images echoes the futurist movements of the power of the machine, the importance of the machine and the possibility of the machine.
This catalogue of industrial relics is looking forward from the past inviting the viewer to place their own assumptions of what this post-apocalyptic bricolage might be. We re-read the familiar in an unfamiliar territory to make our own assumptions of what these purposeless tribal sculptures of reconstructed fragments might come to be. These carcasses of machines have outlived their original use and instead draw our attention to the materiality of the forms; they are shadows of the past given a new future. They are a readymade art object that only exists in the photograph. They are re-invented to provide a new function, they are a new way of seeing, they are a contrast of a dream world and the objective of the machine.
The series ‘Traces’ meaning the sign, mark or remnant that someone has left behind are still life photographs of old letters and books collected from house clearances to explore the ideas of the lost and the forgotten, what a stranger leaves behind, traces of time, memory, and presence. These letters and books are objects that are familiar and recognisable to us all and allow us to use our own memories and our own identity to relate to the work.
In some aspects they look abstract, new shapes can be created from them rather than seeing them in their ordinary aspects. The books have been opened literally and in doing this it symbolizes the opening up the stranger’s life and the same effect is created with the letters which are being looked into and thus allowing the viewer to peek into her life. For example, Plate 5 is an autograph book from someone in the RAF noting all the people he had met on his journey he also noted the deaths of his friends. On the left had side of this image the pages of the book have slumped down, this ironically looks like a paper aeroplane.
The once private objects have now been made public, the only reason for this is the death of the owners, and they have now become a memorial and shrine to the lost and forgotten, it is the traces we all leave behind.
‘Archived Miscellanea’ is an ongoing series of obsolete items that no longer have a use; they have been throw away and discarded. These items have been collected and categorised, and these once useful items have been given the importance and significance of something museum worthy. Many of these items are not familiar and recognizable, they are unidentified. They are not given a description as it is like a puzzle, it is only someone that has a passion or love of that objects use will know of the item, these items have secrets. This series is a record of useless items, based on traditional factual photography as a way of recording and archiving my findings and discoveries, I collect items which I find visually intriguing, examining manmade items.
‘Posted’ leads on from my previous series ‘Traces’ following themes similar themes. These wartime love letters are retracing the life and love of Maude and Frank. The letters are all written by Frank whilst he was ‘Posted’ at different places all over England during the war. These large format images depicting oversized letters have carefully had individual lines selected to narrate short passages and inform us of the life and love between this couple. Their secret, private correspondence becomes public, revealing their strong intimacy and the distance between them. These personal letters are like a visual poem, the scrawl of the handwriting, dusty smell, texture, old stamps are like a biography of someone’s life, some more warn than others, have been read and re-read.
Juxtaposing the letters together builds a structural and sculptural beauty amongst the darkness which surrounds their love for each other. The darkness being the war and distance between them, and the beauty is in the softness and subtle tones in the array of paper representing a tender moment in the complex lives of others. It is a dreamlike effect emerging from the darkness.
Natalie is a Contemporary Collective Artist
2009 London Photographic Association- Love, Pain & Beauty - Silver Series Winner,2009 Signature Photography Awards ‘Still Life’ winner,2007 Nikon Discovery Awards winner
2010 Magenta Foundations Flash Forward – Honourable Mention, 2010 Sony World Photography Awards- Shortlisted Fine Art Conceptual & Constructed,2008 Signature Photography Awards - Shortlisted,2006 Short listed for AOP Student Awards,