With the works of Tm Gratkowski, what initially appears as an abstract composition, upon closer examination reveals a subtle, yet complex and challenging subject matter. The subtleties, often laced with wit and charm, pull the viewer into a world of social issues—race, wealth, sex and power—providing a forum for re-examination and fresh conversations around historically charged topics.
Gratkowski’s recent work, WHITE OUT, implies a ‘white-washing’ of old ideas, thought patterns and ways of living in the world. This work does not directly provide a map to a ‘happy and healthy new world’, nor does it take a strong stand on any one issue. Rather it reflects our media-saturated world, speaking to and for our inundated psyches held heavy with words, flashy images and marketing-driven ‘magic tickets’. Gratkowski’s work is an open playing field for the viewer.
Tm’s education and early works are rooted in painting and drawing; however, he has spent most of his professional career working in collage, experimental photography and installations. His primary source material is reclaimed paper. Continuing to develop new techniques commonly attributed to painting—layering, scraping, blending—Tm unpredictably applies them to paper.
Tm Gratkowski received a BFA from the University of Wisconsin in 1991 and went on to study at the Hoschule fur Agawandte Kunst in Vienna. Returning to the States, he received his MA from SCI-Arc in Los Angeles. His resume includes creating a series of collages for Moby’s “Spiders’ video to a stint working under renowned architect, Frank Gehry.